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Personality in relation to neurodevelopmental problems


The aims are:

  1. to investigate the effect of personality and symptoms of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as, ADHD, autism, etcetera,
  2. to investigate the etiology of personality dimensions (i.e., temperament and character), and
  3. to plan/design/test person-centered preventions and interventions that lead to less dysfunction and suffering, and increases well-being.

Collaborating organisations

University of Gothenburg, Lund University, Washington University i St. Louis and AFA Insurance.


An individual’s maturity, that is, her/his ability to take responsibility, ability for cooperaion, sense of unity and to be able to find her/his place in the world, has been shown to be a good indicator of mental health and well-being among adults. This level of self-awareness can be successfully measured using Cloninger’s biopsychosocial model of personality. More specifically the character scales of Self-directedness, Cooperativeness, and Self-transcendence in the ”Temperament and Character Inventory”.

More importantly, the dynamics between all personality dimensions is what gives a picture of how well adapted the individual is to the circumstances and choices in life: temperament (Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, Reward Dependence och Persistence) and character (Self-directedness, Cooperativeness och Self-transcendence). Character is suggested to regulate the emotions and reactions derived from our temperament. Although genes seem to have the same effect on both dimensions, character shows more plasticity (e.g., character changes with age).

An individual who is high in Self-directedness is secure, has the ability to plan and takes responsibility for her/his actions, is resourcefull, and has self-control. High Cooperativenes indicates that the individual is empathic, cares for and is tolerant of others. Self-transcendece measures the individual’s tentence to have flow experiences, spirituality, and to experience harmoni with the world.


The data used in the study comes, partially fom the Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Swedish (CATSS). Preventions and interventions are designed in collaboration with researchers from Washington University in St. Louis.


Medication and stigmatization of symptoms, for example ”it was the disorder, nothing she/he can help”, may contribute to the underdevelopment of responsibility and cooperation among individuals with already bad , and in that way create even worse mental health problems and ill-being. Therapy aimed to increase the level of self-awareness in the form of, for example, high Self-directedness and Cooperativeness, among children might be a innovative method in child psychiatry in the treatment of differente neuropsychiatric symptoms, but also a prevention of ill-being for their future adulthood.


Danilo Garcia, post-doctoral fellow
Departments of Psychiatry & Genetics
Sansone Center for Well-being
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Institution for Neuroscience and Physiology, Research Project Manager
Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental health
University of Gothenburg

Henrik Anckarsäter, professor
Institution for Neuroscience and Physiology
Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental health
University of Gothenburg

Contact Information

Danilo Garcia

Page Manager: Stefan Axelsson|Last update: 11/3/2014

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