Longitudinal Associations of Explosive and Adventurous Temperament Profiles With Character Development: The Modifying Effects of Social Support and Attachment

Objective: The aim of this study was to examine (a) whether adventurous and explosive temperament profiles (presumed precursors of antisocial and borderline personality) are associated with character traits over a 15-year follow-up and (b) whether social support and attachment security modify the relationship between temperament profiles and character development.

Methods: 2,028 subjects of the Young Finns study completed the Temperament and Character Inventory, the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and the Relationship Questionnaire at 3 assessment points between 1997 and 2012.

Results: Both explosive and adventurous temperament profiles seemed to predispose individuals to have less mature personalities; that is, these profiles were consistently associated with lower cooperativeness (P < .001), and explosive temperament also with lower self-directedness (P < .001), over the entire follow-up period. These relationships did not vary significantly at the individual level and were sustained after controlling for age, gender, and socioeconomic status. However, the presence of high social support and secure attachment was found to decrease the likelihood that explosive temperament would lead to an immature adulthood character (P < .001). In contrast, persons with the adventurous temperament were likely to have a more mature character under low social support and an immature one under high experienced social support (P < .05).

Conclusions: Individuals with the explosive temperament benefit from high social support and secure attachment. From the point of view of the therapy process, this knowledge might be of importance. In contrast, individuals with the adventurous temperament were able to direct their behavior better in social environments that were not likely to support their basic temperaments.

J Clin Psychiatry 2018;79(2):17m11587

https://doi.org/10.4088/JCP.17m11587