Individual differences in multiple dimensions of aggression: a univariate and multivariate genetic analysis

Twin Res. 1999 Mar;2(1):16-21. doi: 10.1375/136905299320566068.


Previous behaviour genetic studies of aggression have yielded inconsistent results: reported heritabilities for different types of aggressive behaviour ranging from 0 to 0.98. In the present study, 247 adult twin pairs (183 MZ pairs; 64 same-sex DZ pairs) were administered seven self-report questionnaires which yielded 18 measures of aggression. Univariate genetic analyses showed moderate to high heritabilities for 14 of these 18 measures and for a general aggression factor and three correlated aggression factors extracted from the measures. Multivariate genetic analyses showed sizeable genetic correlations between the different dimensions of aggression. Thus, individual differences in many types of aggressive behaviour are attributable to some extent to genetic factors and there is considerable overlap between the genes that operate on different types of aggressive behaviour.

Publication types

  • Twin Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aggression / classification
  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anger / physiology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / genetics
  • Attitude
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mood Disorders / genetics
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Self-Assessment
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / genetics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Twins, Dizygotic / genetics*
  • Twins, Monozygotic / genetics*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology
  • Violence