A growing literature suggests that personality traits may be endophenotype markers for psychiatric illnesses. Although the phenotypic relationships between obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) and high neuroticism and low extraversion have been well documented, underlying genetic and environmental contributions to these associations have not been explored previously. Five hundred and twenty-four monozygoitc (MZ) and 228 dizygotic (DZ) pairs of adolescent and young adult twins (aged 13–24 years) drawn from the South Korean Twin Registry completed the Maudsley Obsessive Compulsive Inventory (MOCI) and the Neuroticism and Extraversion scale of the Eysenck Personality Scale by mail. The total score of MOCI (MOCIT) was significantly and positively correlated with Neuroticism (r = .44), but only weakly and negatively related to Extraversion (r = –.10). A trivariate Cholesky model was applied to the data. The additive genetic correlations in the best-fitting model were .51 between Neuroticism and MOCIT and –.17 between Extraversion and MOCIT, suggesting that additive genetic factors that lead to high neuroticism and low extraversion overlap with those genetic factors influencing high OC symptoms. These findings add to the cumulative evidence of the shared genetic etiology for the associations between a personality profile of high neuroticism and low extraversion and mental illnesses.
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