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Background: An association between apolipoprotein E (apoE) gene polymorphism and temperament has been found in the Young
Finns cohort. Motor activity in childhood and mental vitality, sociability and
positive emotionality in adolescence were associated with apoE. Two research groups have attempted
to replicate these findings but no associations have been found. Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to confirm the original
findings with new and more reliable genotyping from a larger sample derived
from the same Young Finns Study as the original finding.Methods: The
study included 2808 participants aged 3 - 18 years
in 1980. The same methods in assessing temperament were used as in the original
study. Temperament was operationalized as motor activity, cooperativeness,
negative emotionality, mental vitality, sociability and positive emotionality.
Temperament was assessed by participants’ mothers in 1980 and 1983 and
self-rated in 1983 by adolescent participants. Results: Motor activity was not
associated with apoE polymerphisms.
All other previous results were replicated. Adolescents’ positive emotionality,
mental vitality and sociability were associated with apoE. Conclusions: The results indicated that there is an association between
temperament and apoE. The previous
absence of association between temperament and apoE in the replication studies may be due to the fact that
researchers used different dimensions of temperament and thus probably studied
different phenomena. Cultural differences in personality assessment might also
explain the contradictory findings.