The objective of this study was to describe the temperament dimension profiles assessed by the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) among young adults with the DSM-III-R personality disorder (PD). Our hypothesis was that PD clusters and separate PDs can be distinguished from one another by their specific temperament profiles. As a part of the 31-year follow-up survey of the prospective Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort, the cohort members living in the city of Oulu at the age of 31 years (n=1609) were invited to participate in a two-phase field study. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R for PDs (SCID-II) was used as diagnostic instrument. The final study sample consisted of the 1311 subjects who had completed the Hopkins Symptom Check List-25 questionnaire for screening and had given a written informed consent. Of the 321 SCID interviewed subjects, 74 met the criteria for at least one PD and had completed the TCI. The mean TCI scores of subjects with PD and control subjects without PD (n=910) were compared. Low Novelty Seeking, high Harm Avoidance and low Reward Dependence characterized cluster A and C PDs. Subjects with a cluster B PD did not differ from controls, except for Novelty Seeking, which was high. The temperament dimensions could not distinguish different PDs very well, with the only exception of persons with obsessive-compulsive PD. PD clusters were associated with different profiles of temperament, lending some support for Cloninger's typology.