The impact of ADHD and autism spectrum disorders on temperament, character, and personality development.

Henrik Anckarsäter, Ola Stahlberg, Tomas Larson, Catrin Hakansson, Sig-Britt Jutblad, Lena Niklasson, Agneta Nydén, Elisabet Wentz, Stefan Westergren, C Robert Cloninger, Christopher Gillberg, Maria Råstam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The authors describe personality development and disorders in relation to symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders. Method: Consecutive adults referred for neuropsychiatric investigation (N=240) were assessed for current and lifetime ADHD and autism spectrum disorders and completed the Temperament and Character Inventory. In a subgroup of subjects (N=174), presence of axis II personality disorders was also assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Personality Disorders (SCID-II). Results: Patients with ADHD reported high novelty seeking and high harm avoidance. Patients with autism spectrum disorders reported low novelty seeking, low reward dependence, and high harm avoidance. Character scores (self-directedness and cooperativeness) were extremely low among subjects with neuropsychiatric disorders, indicating a high overall prevalence of personality disorders, which was confirmed with the SCIDII. Cluster B personality disorders were more common in subjects with ADHD, while cluster A and C disorders were more common in those with autism spectrum disorders. The overlap between DSM-IV personality disorder categories was high, and they seem less clinically useful in this context. Conclusions: ADHD and autism spectrum disorders are associated with specific temperament configurations and an increased risk of personality disorders and deficits in character maturation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1244
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Bibliographical note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015.
The record was previously connected to the following departments: Psychiatry/Primary Care/Public Health (013240500), Longitudinal Studies in Clinical Psychiatry (013243120), Department of Child and Youth Psychiatry (013303003)

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychiatry


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