Inter-correlations between Cloninger's temperament dimensions-- a meta-analysis

Psychiatry Res. 2008 Jul 15;160(1):106-14. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.05.003. Epub 2008 May 29.


The Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) was developed to measure the following temperament dimensions: novelty seeking (NS), harm avoidance (HA), reward dependence (RD) and persistence (P). These four dimensions of temperament were originally proposed to be independent of one another. In this study the inter-relationships between the dimensions were studied with meta-analytic techniques. We also studied the effects of sociodemographic factors (location of the study, mean age and gender distribution) on correlations between temperament dimensions. We searched studies on healthy (non-clinical) populations that used the TCI (version 9), and that had a required sample size of at least 100. The search resulted in 16 articles. The resulted pooled correlation coefficient was medium level between NS and HA (-0.27). Correlations were small for HA-P (-0.20), NS-P (-0.14), NS-RD (0.10), RD-P (0.05) and HA-RD (0.04). In meta-regression, the correlation NS-P was significantly affected by the location of the study (Asian/other) and by the gender distribution of the sample. In the HA-P correlation, the mean age of the sample affected the correlation. In conclusion, we found a medium level negative correlation between NS and HA; other correlations between the dimensions were small. These findings mainly support Cloninger's theory of independent dimensions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Character*
  • Control Groups
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data*
  • Psychometrics
  • Racial Groups / genetics
  • Racial Groups / statistics & numerical data*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size
  • Sex Distribution
  • Temperament*