2013. Vol.4, No.1, 11-18
Published Online January 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 11
Assortative Mating and Personality in Human Couples: A Study
Using Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory
O. Le Bon1*, M. Hansenne2, D. Amaru1, A. Albert3, M. Ansseau2, S. Dupont4
1CHU Tivoli, Department of Psychiatry, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium
2Department of Psychiatry, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium
3Department of Biostatistics, Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium
4The Sven Lovén Centre for Marine Sciences, Department of Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences,
University of Gothenburg, Kristineberg, Sweden
Email: *
Received September 22nd, 2012; revised October 23rd, 2012; accepted November 21st, 2012
The trend toward assortative mating is the rule in Western societies for a large series of factors. The case
for personality variables is however not clear, since weak and even negative relationships have been
found in correlation analyses between spouses. The present study compared the profiles of members from
145 stable couples living together for more than 5 years, and representative of the Belgian population.
Personality measurements were performed using Cloninger’s Temperament and Character Inventory
(TCI), in order to: 1) determine whether the subject’s TCI predicts the partner’s profile; 2) determine
whether modeling has an important influence between the partners; 3) describe the behavior of personali-
ties with extreme traits; 4) measure whether personalities with extreme traits would favor complementar-
ity over homogamy. In all dimensions but Harm Avoidance and its sub-dimensions, positive associations
were found between the partners, indicating a trend toward assortative mating. These differences were
significant for Novelty Seeking, Reward Dependence, Persistence and Cooperativeness. Trends were ob-
served in Self-Directedness and Self-Transcendence. Subjects with extreme personality traits were not
shown to favor complementarity over assortative mating. Homogamy was thus confirmed here for a series
of personality traits, independently of the TCI Temperament or Character classification and on the sub-
jects position in the distribution.
Keywords: Personality; TCI; Couples; Genetics; Assortative Mating
As long as most of human reproduction remains sexual, the
choice of the partner will be an essential issue, for it will de-
termine the genetic apparatus of the offspring and the species.
Although biology is unlikely to ever fully explain our eventual
personal decisions, it may influence them considerably, if un-
consciously. Natural selection—or in the present case, sexual
selection, as Charles Darwin also put it—is of course at work,
to ensure that only the fittest genes survive.
One robust constant in studies on mating is that, for almost
every studied trait, the partners resemble each other (assortative
mating) more than they would if couples were randomly as-
sembled or if compensation for significant deviations from the
mean (complementarity) was a priority. Assortative mating,
also known as homogamy, has as such been demonstrated in a
descending hierarchy in Western societies for factors as diverse
as age, education, ethnic origin, religion, attitudes and opinions,
intelligence (IQ), socioeconomic status, height, weight, eye
color, number of siblings, or physical characteristics (see re-
views by Vandenberg, 1972; Jensen, 1978; Thiessen & Gregg,
1980; Merikangas, 1982; Bouchard & McGue, 2003). Similar-
ity between partners on psychological states or traits has also
been linked to marital satisfaction (Antill, 1983; Kurdek, 1993;
Luteijn, 1994; Murstein & Williams, 1985; Richard et al., 1990;
Russel & Wells, 1991) and personal subjective well-being (Ar-
rindell & Luteijn, 2000).
Preference for physically similar partners may help you de-
cide who you talk to, social criteria may limit the circle within
which you are able to make your choice, but personality is usu-
ally of primary importance to decide who you make children
with, at least in our modern societies (Miller, 1997). Studies of
couples evidenced significant similarities for major psychiatric
disorders (Parnas, 1988; Maes et al., 1998; Galbaud du Fort et
al., 1994) and antisocial behavior (Krueger et al., 1998; Gal-
baud du Fort, 2002), so that assortative mating can also be sus-
pected here. The case of personality in the general population is
less clear, as several studies using correlations between spouses
reported negative findings, or very weak relationships (up
to .20) (Richardson, 1939; Hill, 1973; Farley & Davis, 1977;
Farley & Mueller, 1978; Buss, 1985). Others (McCrae et al.,
2008; Escorial & Martin-Buro, 2012) found positive, although
moderate, correlations.
Personality has been estimated to be determined, from 50%
to 66%, by genetic factors (Loehlin & Nichols, 1976; Peder-
son et al., 1988; Tellegen et al., 1988; Bouchard, 1994; Bou-
chard & McGue, 2003). Genes coding for enzymes, transport-
ers or receptors playing a key role in neurotransmission are
likely to be involved in personality characteristics. Variations in
their biological actions will contribute to the variations in their
phenotypical expression. Complex behavioral dimensions will
involve multiple biological underpinnings, each of which is
determined by discrete genes. The hypothesis of a multiple-
*Corresponding author.
gene heredity on complex behavior suggests a continuum of
genetic risk that extends from normal to abnormal behavior.
Consequently, an important implication of a polygenic model is
its dimensionality.
Cloninger (1986; 1987; Cloninger et al., 1993) has construct-
ed his biosocial model on the basis of such assumptions. In
contrast to other models which consider that personality is fully
derived from biology (Eysenck & Eysenck, 1969), or do not
otherwise specify etiological factors (most of the others), the
model divides personality in two categories: Temperament is
postulated to reflect behavioral traits mainly shaped by geneti-
cal or neurophysiological elements, whereas Character includes
behavioral traits primarily linked to learning. The Temperament
dimensions include: 1) Novelty Seeking (NS), supposedly as-
sociated with dopaminergic activity, was defined as the ten-
dency to respond actively to novel stimuli leading to the pursuit
of rewards and escape from punishment; 2) Harm Avoidance
(HA), linked to serotonergic activity, corresponds to the ten-
dency toward an inhibitory response to signals of aversive
stimuli leading to avoidance of punishment and non-reward; 3)
Reward Dependence (RD), associated with noradrenergic activ-
ity, was defined as the tendency for a positive response to sig-
nals of reward to maintain or resist behavioral extinction; 4)
Persistence (PE), originally included in the RD dimension, was
later individualized and is not at present specifically linked to a
neurotransmitter. The Character dimensions include: 5) Self-
Directedness (SD) referring to the ability of an individual to
control, regulate and adapt his or her behavior to fit the situa-
tion in agreement with individually chosen goals and values; 6)
Cooperativeness (CO) was formulated to account for individual
differences in identification with and acceptance of other peo-
ple. Cooperative individuals are described as socially tolerant,
empathic, helpful and compassionate, whereas uncooperative
individuals are described as socially intolerant, disinterested in
other people, unhelpful and revengeful; 7) Self-transcendence
(ST) is associated with spirituality and refers generally to iden-
tification with everything conceived as essential and conse-
quential parts of a unified whole. Except for PE, all dimensions
are divided into sub-dimensions (from three to five).
Independently performed correlations between the four tem-
perament dimensions and biological or genetic elements (Nov-
elty Seeking: Benjamin et al., 1996; Ebstein et al., 1996; Staner
et al., 1998; Harm Avoidance: Ricketts et al., 1998; Mazzanti et
al., 1998; Hansenne et al., 1999; RD: Ebstein et al., 1997;
Garvey et al., 1996; Persistence: Benjamin et al., 2000; Com-
ings et al., 2000) have added credit to Cloninger’s hypotheses.
However, not all replications could confirm the evidence
(Herbst et al., 2000; Blairy et al., 2000; Samochowiec et al.,
2001), so that the topic remains controversial.
The present study used the Temperament and Character In-
ventory (TCI), a well-validated 226-item binary self-ques-
tionnaire, developed to assess the seven dimensions of the
model (Cloninger et al., 1994). It was used on a group of 145
couples living together for 5 years or more. This selection
helped avoid confusion with less stable early mating. The ob-
jectives were: 1) to measure potential associations between
partners for every dimension and sub-dimension of the TCI,
using intraclass correlations; 2) to measure the potential mod-
eling effect over time between members of a couple, by meas-
uring the interaction between the duration of the relationship
and the links between partners; 3) to describe the relationships
of people with extreme traits; 4) to measure whether subjects
with extreme traits “compensate” for these by mating with sub-
jects showing opposite characteristics. For these latter analyses,
real couples were compared with randomly—assigned hetero-
sexual pairs from the same original sample.
Material and Methods
Subject selection was in four steps: 1) The original sample
was designed to be representative of the Belgian population
with respect to sex, age, geographical area and educational
level. It was used for a university survey conducted on a nearly
annual basis since 1992, to evaluate a series of variables on the
family life. It included 7015 subjects, of which 3901 (55%)
lived in the Flanders Region, 2458 (35%) in the Wallonia Re-
gion, and 656 (9%) in the Brussels Region; 2) Only French-
speaking subjects from the Wallonia and Brussels Regions (n =
3114) were eligible for the present study, in order to use only
one version of the TCI on the sub-sample at step 3. Mean male
age was 43.9 (SD: 17.2, range: 16 - 87) and mean female age
was 45.8 (SD: 18.5; range: 16 - 95). Highest education levels
were: high-school (21%), high-school level trade school (1%),
high-school level artistic studies (15%), post high-school tech-
nical (24%), college/university (38%). (NB: school is manda-
tory at some level in Belgium until age 18); 3) a second ran-
domization selected 161 men and 161 women, married or in-
formally living together, and was again stratified for age, geo-
graphical area and educational level. The subjects were in-
formed by mail that a personality questionnaire would be added
to the usual material of the inquiry. No subject refused the pro-
tocol. The questionnaires were mailed 15 days after the instruc-
tions. An interviewer went to the subjects’ residences to collect
the questionnaires and to check whether all questions were
completed adequately; 4) those who formed stable couples for
at least five years were eventually analyzed (n = 290).
The TCI was used in its French translation by Le Bon, Staner
and Stefos, a retro-translated version recognized by the author.
Details can be found in a control database (Hansenne et al.,
2001). Cronbach’s alpha for the French version was .562
(NS); .722 (HA); .545 (RD); .729 (SD); .530 (CO); .352 (ST).
No figure can be provided for PE, which includes only one sub-
The protocol was approved by the ethical committee of the
University of Liège Medical School and all subjects gave their
informed consent.
All dimensions and sub-dimensions were compatible with
parametric analyses (QQ plot).
Comparisons between categorical variables were performed
using chi-square. Comparisons between continuous variables
were performed using Student’s t-test for unpaired groups. To
measure the relationship between the partners’ personality pro-
files, a first series of analyses used the intraclass correlation
between the TCI scores.
A second series of analyses aimed to measure the behavior of
subjects with the lowest and highest scores. Here, the main
measure was the absolute value of the differences (Δ) between
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
partners for every dimension. In order to determine what would
be expected by chance, the absolute Δ between selected ex-
treme scorers (for every dimension) and randomly-selected
partners of the other sex was first established. To compensate
for the limited size of the sub-samples and obtain a distribution
of the mean absolute Δ corresponding to random mating, the
process was repeated a thousand times (bootstrap procedure)
for all potential partners in the sample except the real one (145
1 = 144). This provided a reference average which was sub-
sequently compared with the actual partners (one-sample t-test).
For the analyses on extreme scorers, the subjects from both
sexes were pooled together and sorted hierarchically for every
dimension. Then two sub-samples were formed for every di-
mension, one for the low scorers and one for the high scorers.
About 10% subjects were selected in each case. Due to ceiling
and floor effect of the scales, the samples do not correspond
exactly to the desired 10% (14 - 15 subjects) and actual ranges
are from 11 to 26 subjects.
Sample Description
The final selection included 145 males and 145 females liv-
ing together for more than 5 years. Compared with the sample
at step 2 (French-speaking global sample), there was no sig-
nificant difference in education level or geographical area. Fe-
male (p = .021) and male (p = .005) age was higher in the
sub-sample (step 4). Mean male age was: 49.5; SD: 13.9; range
24 - 80; mean female age was: 47.7; 14.5; 21 - 79. The mean
duration of the relationship was: 23.5 (SD: 13.9; 5 - 57). Men’s
age at marriage (or when the couple considered forming a sta-
ble union) was 26.1 (SD: 6.4; 17 - 60); women’s age at mar-
riage was: 24.2 (6.3; 14 - 59); the age difference between the
partners was 1.8 (4.2; 0 - 16). No statistically significant dif-
ference was found for any dimension or sub-dimension between
the sample eventually selected and the sample at step 3 (couples
including those living together for less than 5 years).
TCI Scales Intercorrelations
The TCI scales were shown not to be perfectly independent
between them, as would be optimal for personality determina-
tion (Table 1). The highest correlations were found between
Harm Avoidance and Self-Directedness (r = .415), Reward
Dependence and Cooperativeness (r = .561), and between
Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness (r = .419).
Table 1.
TCI scales: intercorrelations.
HAT .093
RDT .141 .204
PET .253 .267 .103
SDT .107 .415 .111 .058
COT .048 .014 .561 .190 .419
STT .018 .032 .157 .022 .001 .167
Legend: Pearson product moment “r”.
Comparison between the Partners
Table 2 shows the associations between the partners’ pro-
files. Significant associations were found for the following
Table 2.
Intraclass correlations (n = 145 × 2).
Novelty seek i ng
NS1 Exploratory excitability .356 .005
NS2 Impulsiveness .249 .043
NS3 Extravagance .421 .001
NS4 Disorderliness .046 ns
NST Total .334 .007
Harm avoidance
HA1 Anticipatory worry .254 ns
HA2 Fear of uncertain .150 ns
HA3 Shyness with strangers .121 ns
HA4 Fatigability .192 ns
HAT Total .052 ns
Reward depende n ce
RD1 Sentimentality .274 .027
RD3 Attachment .229 .059
RD4 Dependence .410 .001
RDT Total .350 .005
PET Persistence .252 .041
SD1 Responsibility .264 .031
SD2 Purposefulness .156 ns
SD3 Resourcefulness .101 ns
SD4 Self-acceptance .350 .005
SD5 Congruent second nature .308 .014
SDT Total .226 (.062)
CO1 Social acceptance .165 ns
CO2 Empathy .110 ns
CO3 Helpfulness .366 .003
CO4 Compassion .452 .001
CO5 Principled .501 .001
COT Total .432 .001
ST1 Self-forgetfulness .277 .026
ST2 Transpersonal identification .564 .001
ST3 Spiritual acceptance .178 ns
STT Total .237 (.052)
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 13
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
dimensions: Novelty Seeking, Reward Dependence, Persistence
and Cooperativeness. Trends were present for Self-Directed-
ness and Self-Transcendence. Within the dimensions, some
heterogeneity was found, with sub-dimensions showing high
degrees of similarity between the partners and others showing
quite low grades. All the significant correlations were positive
and only the nonsignificant links for fatigability, a sub-dimen-
sion of HA, was negative.
Links with Age
The correlation between the partners’ Δs for dimensions and
duration of the relationship was significant only for STT (r
= .222, p = .011); all other r’s were below .096 and not sig-
nificant. No significant correlations were observed between the
partners’ Δs for dimensions and age difference (all Pearson’s r
were below .155 and not significant).
Comparisons between Extreme Real and
Randomly-A ssigned Coupl es
The difference between the partners was then tested in sub-
samples including one higher or one lower scorer for each scale
(Tables 3 and 4). The difference between the partners was
smaller in the real couples than in randomly-assigned couples
in all cases except for high Harm Avoidance and low Reward
Dependence. The difference was significant in Cooperation
(both high and low), low Reward Dependence and showed a
trend for Novelty Seeking (both high and low).
Main Results
The main result of this study was that the partners showed
positive associations between them on all dimensions except
Harm Avoidance and its sub-divisions where the results were
more mixed. These associations were significant for Novelty
Seeking, Reward Dependence, Persistence, Cooperativeness
and the combined value, and trends were observed in Self-
Directedness and Self-Transcendence. No significant negative
association was found. This shows a clear predominance of
assortative mating over complementarity, which is in agreement
with most of the literature on mating.
Novelty seeking and similar concepts were already shown
previously to be the most predictive personality variable for
Table 3.
Comparisons of couples’ Δ in the upper decile.
Real couples
(mean) SD Random couples
(mean) SD N (real couples) Inclusive thresholdMax Real < randomp
ΔNST 9.92 6.08 13.11 .03 12 27 40 98% .096
ΔHAT 16.0 6.99 14.23 .07 10 30 35 21% ns
ΔRDT 6.92 3.90 8.25 .03 13 21 24 91% ns
ΔPET 2.65 2.03 3.07 .01 26 8 8 92% ns
ΔSDT 9.75 8.23 11.53 .06 16 41 44 82% ns
ΔCOT 6.00 4.43 8.29 .05 17 40 42 92% .049
ΔSTT 1.21 6.22 13.05 .07 14 24 33 47% ns
Legend: real and random couples’ Δ for each TCI dimension. Because of ceiling and floor effect and ordinal distribution of the test, it was not possible to select precisely
the desired sample size for the comparison. A threshold was thus defined in each case, to include about 10% of the total. Extremes sample size, threshold and maximum for
the scale are given in columns 6 - 8. Real > random: percentage of cases where real couple’s difference was smaller than in randomly-assigned couples. p: one-sample t-test
using the mean of the difference between randomly-assigned couples as the reference point. Please note that SD are of a different order of magnitude: this is due to the
bootstrap procedure used with the randomly-assigned couples.
Table 4.
Comparisons of couples’ Δ in the lower decile.
Real couples
(mean) SD Random couples
(mean) SD N (real couples)Inclusive thresholdMin Real < randomp
ΔNST 8.10 4.79 11.08 .09 10 7 0 85% .081
ΔHAT 14.00 6.13 14.35 .07 16 4 0 55% ns
ΔRDT 1.42 4.40 9.08 .04 12 7 0 14% ns
ΔPET 2.84 1.95 3.31 .01 25 1 0 93% .002
ΔSDT 14.29 8.20 17.31 .06 14 17 0 94% ns
ΔCOT 12.42 6.47 16.63 .05 12 20 0 99% .046
ΔSTT 8.56 7.04 9.52 .07 16 5 0 47% ns
Legend: same as Table 3, except for Min instead of Max for each scale.
assortative mating (Farley & Davis, 1977). Within the dimen-
sions, and although the consistency of the questionnaire has
been repeatedly demonstrated, especially on the Temperament
side, an important degree of heterogeneity was found in the
prediction for the partner’s profile. Therefore the sub-dimen-
sions may prove more useful than global dimensions to define
which traits are crucial for mating.
In their questionnaire, Cloninger et al. (1993) make an im-
portant theoretical distinction between behavioral traits that
would be mainly shaped by genetical or neurophysiological
elements (Temperament) and others bound primarily to learn-
ing (Character). If assortative mating is encouraged by Evolu-
tion, we would expect traits determined biologically to have
more selective value than learned ones. Yet, this distinction was
not supported by the present results, as traits from Character
dimensions seem at least as strongly associated with mating
than those of Temperament (the combined value for Tempera-
ment dimensions was in fact even less predictive of homogamy
than its counterpart). This may either mean that assortative
mating is not especially linked to biologically-transmitted traits,
and that Evolution is thus irrelevant to assortative mating for
the present matter, or that the distinction between the two parts
of the model by Cloninger et al. is excessive. The design of the
present study cannot solve this issue. However, a clear distinc-
tion between personality traits determined by nature or nurture
has not been demonstrated in the literature published so far. It is
even hypothesized that all personality traits are inherited (Bou-
chard & McGue, 2003), which rather supports the second op-
tion. In this case, both personality categories could be partly
determined genetically and partly by learning.
A second result of this study is that no relationship was
found between the magnitude of the difference between the
partners (all TCI dimensions) and the duration of the relation-
ship, except for a weak link with Self-Transcendence. This can
be interpreted as a sign of stability of a subject’s temperament
and character over the years, and of a limited effect of model-
ling on each other. Also, no relationship was found between the
magnitude of the TCI dimensions difference between the part-
ners and the age difference between them. These elements are
in agreement with most of the literature on the topic (see Intro-
Four nonexclusive reasons pushing for assortative mating are
usually considered: 1) the partners in a couple should be similar
because of Trait Convergence over the course of the relation-
ship; this has however been rejected by practically all studies
(Zonderman et al., 1977; Mascie-Taylor et al., 1989; Caspi &
Herbener, 1993; Sutton, 1993; Feng & Baker, 1994), except
perhaps for food choice (Bove et al., 2003); 2) Social Homog-
amy (Price & Vanderberg, 1980; Eaves et al., 1989; Neale &
Cardon, 1992) proposes that individuals mate assortively
mostly for reasons of shared environmental and social back-
ground: acceptable partners within a given social context would
already be phenotypically similar; 3) in Phenotypic Assortment
(Heath & Eaves, 1985; Cardon et al., 1991; Eaves et al., 1978;
Jencks, 1972), subjects would prefer to mate with people who
are like them for a series of phenotypic traits, but the precise
reason why they would do so is not clarified; 4) in Genetic
Similarity, Rushton et al. (1984) postulate that individuals have
a natural tendency to seek out genetically similar individuals,
either actively or through an unknown mechanism, in order to
ensure a maximum diffusion of their genes: random mating
makes 50% of the genetic apparatus to be transmitted to the
offspring; with assortative mating, as similar genes are pro-
vided by the partner, the resemblance between parent and child
can only increase (see Eckman et al. (2002) for a critical re-
view). A discussion on the relative merits of these theories and
the models that have been derived from them (see Rao et al.,
1974; Eaves, 1979; Campbell, 1980; Eaves et al., 1999) would
go beyond the scope of the present work.
Trait convergence, as a hypothetic mechanism to explain as-
sortative mating, is thus not supported here. The design of the
present study does not permit to support one or another of the
three remaining hypotheses.
Extreme Traits and Assortative Mating
It could be hypothesized that atypical subjects function dif-
ferently than mainstream ones and perhaps somehow seek to
temper their personality with somebody who possesses less
extreme traits (complementarity). In most cases, subjects could
thus tend to mate like individuals—and protect the genes that
they have in common—except where the emotional unwell-
being linked to a very large deviation from the mean would be
too strong.
About 10% of the sample was used for each scale and at both
tails for the comparisons of the extreme traits. In twelve of the
fourteen tests, the difference was smaller in the real couples
than in the randomly-assigned ones and in nine tests, it was the
case for between 82% to 98% of the comparisons. The differ-
ence between real and random couples’ Δs was significantly
smaller in the case of Cooperation (both tails). It was also
smaller in Persistence (low scorers) and in Novelty Seeking
(both tails). Combined Values were not used here, because it
would represent an average of extreme traits, which has proba-
bly little theoretical interest. The hypothesis that subjects with
extreme traits would tend to compensate instead of reinforcing
their traits through marriage was thus not confirmed here. This
also does not favor the concept that subjects would be faced
with a choice between someone mirroring or complementing
them (Pediaditakis et al., 1998).
Theoretical Considerations
The mating type has potentially important consequences on
the species. Assortative mating, for instance, will mechanically
increase the frequency of genotypes (combinations of genes)
producing extreme phenotypes and decrease the frequency of
genotypes creating average phenotypes. If matings are not ran-
dom, then one of the conditions for the stability of allelle dis-
tribution, known as the Hardy (1908) and Weinberg (1908) law
of population genetics, is contradicted. Animal breeding has
shown how easy it is to select individuals with specific physical
and behavior characteristics that do not exist in the wild. Al-
though the increase in genotypic variance resulting from posi-
tive assortative mating is small for many characteristics, it ac-
cumulates over time. And, as the number of extremes increases,
it will be easier for someone at that extreme to mate someone
with the same characteristics, so that a positive feed-back loop
is established. Families would become more homogeneous for a
series of desired traits but differences between families would
Within the distribution of any given trait, assortative mating
tends to increase variability, along with inbreeding and bal-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 15
anced polymorphism, against other factors tending to reduce it,
such as unidirectional natural selection, imperfect genetic trans-
mission or complementary matings. However, complementarity
has never been demonstrated as a group behavior. The present
study indicates that even the subjects at the tails of the distribu-
tion do not show it. Studies in larger groups will be needed to
demonstrate the conditions in which it appears.
Assortative mating thus contributes to maintain a degree of
variety in allele distribution within a given group, which may
be useful to the species. Atypical personalities, who may suffer
individually in adjusting to normal situations, may on the other
hand be in a better position than average ones to cope with a
variety of special situations (from viral infections to physical
aggression to intellectual challenges). Individuals with a com-
bination of extreme personality traits will be especially useful
at times when the group faces novel or threatening environ-
ments, as it increases the likelihood that a few of its members
will be able to adjust to extreme situations and either save the
group or simply survive and reproduce themselves.
TCI Consiste nc y
In most cases, weak or very weak links were evidenced be-
tween TCI scales. There was no strong link within the Tem-
perament scales and only one within the Character scales (Self-
Directedness and Cooperativeness). There were, however, two
strong links between Temperament and Character scales (Harm
Avoidance and Self-Directedness; Reward Dependence and
Cooperativeness). Factor independence of the questionnaire
should thus still be optimized.
It should be reminded that stable couples, with offsprings of
their own, are only a part of human reproduction. Historically,
human mating systems have used every way imaginable, from
polygyny, to polyandry, to endogamy (favoring marriages with
close genetic relatives), to exogamy (excluding marriages with
close relatives), or hypergamy (women marrying upwards in
the socioeconomic hierarchy). In our modern Western societies,
a non-negligible number of children are conceived outside mar-
riage or stable couples.
The absence of relationships between the magnitude of the
difference between the partner and the age difference between
them or the duration of their relationship may have been influ-
enced by the exclusion of couples with a relationship shorter
than 5 years. The absence of modelling found here is however
in agreement with all the literature on the subject.
The general trend toward assortative mating is confirmed for
personality variables in a representative sample of stable cou-
Antill, J. K. (1983). Sex role complementarity versus similarity in mar-
ried couples. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 145-
155. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.45.1.145
Arrindell, W. A., & Luteijn, F. (2000). Similarity between intimate
partners for personality traits as related to individual levels of satis-
faction with life. Personality and Individual Differences, 28, 629-637.
Benjamin, J., Li, L., Patterson, C., Greenberg, B. D., Murphy, D. L., &
Hamer, D. H. (1996). Population and familial association between
the D4 dopamine receptor gene and measures of novelty seeking.
Nature Genetics, 12, 81-84. doi:10.1038/ng0196-81
Benjamin, J., Osher, Y., Lichtenberg, P., Bachner-Melman, R., Grit-
senko, I., Kotler, M., Belmaker, R. H., Valsky, V., Drendel, M., &
Ebstein, R. P. (2000). An interaction between the catechol O-methyl-
transferase and serotonin transporter promoter region polymorphisms
contributes to tridimensional personality questionnaire persistence
scores in normal subjects. Neuropsychobiology, 41, 48-53.
Blairy, S., Massat, I., Staner, L., Le Bon, O., Van Gestel, S., Van
Broeckhoven, C., Hilger, C., Hentges, F., Souery, D., & Mendlewicz,
J. (2000). 5-HT2a receptor polymorphism gene in bipolar disorder
and harm avoidance personality trait. American Journal of Medical
Genetics, 96, 360-364.
Bouchard, T. J. (1994). Genes, environment and personality. Science,
264, 1700-1701. doi:10.1126/science.8209250
Bouchard, T. J., & McGue, M. (2003). Genetic and environmental
influences on human psychological differences. Journal of Neurobi-
ology, 54, 4-45. doi:10.1002/neu.10160
Bove, C. F., Sobal, J., & Rauschenbach, B. S. (2003). Food choices
among newly married couples: Convergence, conflict, individualism
and projects. Appetite, 40 , 25-41.
Buss, D. M. (1985). Human mate selection. American Scientist, 73, 47-
Campbell, R. B. (1980). Polymorphic equilibria with assortative mating
and selection in subdivided populations. Theoretical Population Bi-
ology, 18, 94-111. doi:10.1016/0040-5809(80)90042-8
Cardon, L. R., Fulker, D. W., & Jöreskog, K. G. (1991). A LISREL 8
model with constrained parameters for twin and adoptive families.
Behavior Genetics, 21, 327-350. doi:10.1007/BF01065971
Caspi, A., & Herbener, E. S. (1993). Marital assortment and phenotypic
convergence: Longitudinal evidence. Social Biology, 40, 48-60.
Cloninger, C. R., Przybeck, T. R., Svrakic, D. M., & Wetzel, R. D.
(1994). The temperament and character inventory (TCI): A guide to
its development and use. St-Louis, MO: Washington University.
Cloninger, C. R., Svrakic, D. M., & Przybeck, T. R. (1993). A psycho-
biological model of temperament and character. Archives of General
Psychiatry, 50, 975-990.
Cloninger, C. R. (1987). A systematic method for clinical description
and classification of personality variants. Archives of General Psy-
chiatry, 44, 573-588. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800180093014
Cloninger, C. R. (1986). A unified biosocial theory of personality and
its role in the development of anxiety states. Psychiatric Develop-
ments, 3, 167-226.
Comings, D. E., Gade-Andavolu, R., Gonzalez, N., Wu, S., Muhleman,
D., Blake, H., Mann, M. B., Dietz, G., Saucier, G., & MacMurray, J.
P. (2000). A multivariate analysis of 59 candidate genes in personal-
ity traits: The temperament and character inventory. Clinical Genet-
ics, 58, 375-385. doi:10.1034/j.1399-0004.2000.580508.x
Eaves, L. J., Last, K. A., Young, P. A., & Martin, N. G. (1978).
Model-fitting approaches to the analysis of human behaviour. Hered-
ity, 41, 249-320. doi:10.1038/hdy.1978.101
Eaves, L. J. (1979). The use of twins in the analysis of assortative mat-
ing. Heredity, 43, 399-409. doi:10.1038/hdy.1979.90
Eaves, L. J., Fulker, D. W., & Heath, A. C. (1989). The effects of social
homogamy and cultural inheritance on the covariances of twins and
their parents: A LISREL model. Behavior Genetics, 19, 113-122.
Eaves, L. J., Heath, A., Martin, N., Maes, H., Neale, M., Kendler, K.,
Kirk, K., & Corey, L. (1999). Comparing the biological and cultural
inheritance of personality and social attitudes in the Virginia 30,000
study of twins and their relatives. Twin Research, 2, 62-80.
Ebstein, R. P., Novick, O., Umansky, R., Priel, B., Osher, Y., Blaine,
D., Bennett, E. R., Nemanov, L., Katz, M., & Belmaker, R. H. (1996).
Dopamine D4 receptor (D4DR) exon III polymorphism associated
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
with the human personality trait of Novelty Seeking. Nature Genetics,
12, 78-80. doi:10.1038/ng0196-78
Ebstein, R. P., Seqman, R., Benjamin, J., Osher, Y., Nemanov, L., &
Belmaker, R. H. (1997). RH5-HT2C (HTR2C) serotonin receptor
gene polymorphism associated with the human personality trait of
reward dependence: Interaction with dopamine D4 receptor (D4DR)
and dopamine D3 receptor (D3DR) polymorphisms. American Jour-
nal of Medical Genetics, 7 4 , 65-72.
Eckman, R. E., Williams, R., & Nagoshi, C. (2002). Marital assortment
for genetic similarity. Journal of Biosocial Sci en c e, 34, 511-523.
Escorial, S., & Martin-Buro, C. (2012). The role of personality and
intelligence in assortative mating. The Spanish Journal of Psychol-
ogy, 15, 680-687
Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1969). Personality structure and
measurement. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Farley, F. H., & Davis, S. A. (1977). Arousal, personality, and assorta-
tive mating in marriage. Journal of Sexual and Marital Therapy, 3,
122-127. doi:10.1080/00926237708402977
Farley, F. H., & Mueller, C. B. (1978). Arousal, personality, and assor-
tative mating in marriage. Generalizability and cross-cultural factors.
Journal of Sexual and Marital Therapy, 4, 50-53.
Feng, D., & Baker, L. (1994). Spouse similarity in attitudes, personality,
and psychological well-being. Behavior Genetics, 24, 357-364.
Jencks, C. (1972). Inequality: A reassessment of the effects of family
and schooling in America. New York: Basic Books.
Galbaud du Fort, G., Boothroyd, L. J., Bland, R. C., Newman, S. C., &
Kakuma, R. (2002). Spouse similarity for antisocial behaviour in the
general population. Psychological Medicine, 32, 1407-1416.
Galbaud du Fort, G., Kovess, V., & Boivin, J. F. (1994). Spouse simi-
larity for psychological distress and well-being: A population study.
Psychological Medicine, 24 , 431-447.
Garvey, M. J., Noyes Jr., R., Cook, B., & Blum, N. (1996). Preliminary
confirmation of the proposed link between reward-dependence traits
and norepinephrine. Psychiatry Research, 65, 61-64.
Hansenne, M., & Ansseau, M. (1999). Harm avoidance and serotonin.
Biological Psychology, 51, 77-81.
Hansenne, M., Le Bon, O., Gauthier, A., & Ansseau, M. (2001). Bel-
gian normative data of the temperament and character inventory.
European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 17, 56-62.
Hardy, G. H. (1908). Mendelian proportions in a mixed population.
Science, 28, 49-50. doi:10.1126/science.28.706.49
Heath, A. C., & Eaves, L. J. (1985). Resolving the effects of phenotype
and social background on mate selection. Behavior Genetics, 15, 15-
30. doi:10.1007/BF01071929
Herbst, J. H., Zonderman, A. B., McCrae, R. R., & Costa Jr., P. T.
(2000). Do the dimensions of the temperament and character inven-
tory map a simple genetic architecture? Evidence from molecular
genetics and factor analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry, 157,
1285-1290. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.157.8.1285
Hill, M. S. (1973). Hereditary influence on the normal personality using
the MMPI: II. Prospective assortative mating. Behavioral Genetics, 3,
225-232. doi:10.1007/BF01067599
Jensen, A. R. (1978). Genetic and behavioral effects on nonrandom
mating. In R. T. Osborne, C. E. Noble, & N. J. Wey (Eds.), Human
variation: Biopsychology of age, race and sex. Waltham: Academic
Krueger, R. F., Moffitt, T. E., Caspi, A., Bleske, A., & Silva, P. A.
(1998). Assortative mating for antisocial behavior: Developmental
and methodological implications. Behavioral Genetics, 28, 173-186.
Kurdek, L. A. (1993). Predicting marital dissolution: A 5-year prospec-
tive longitudinal study of newlywed couples. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, 64, 221-242.
Le Bon, O., Staner, L., Tecco, J., Pull, C., & Pelc, I. (1998). Le
questionnaire tridimensionnel de la personnalité (TPQ): Validation
dans une population francophone {Tridimensional Personality Ques-
tionnaire (TPQ): Validation in a French-speaking control population}.
L’Encéphale, 14, 40-45.
Loehlin, J. C., & Nichols, R. C. (1976). Heredity, environment and
personality. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.
Luteijn, F. (1994). Personality and the quality of an intimate relation-
ship. European Journal of Psych o l ogical Assessment, 10, 220-223.
Maes, H. H., Neale, M. C., Kendler, K. S., Hewitt, J. K., Silberg, J. L.,
Foley, D. L., Meyer, J. M., Rutter, M., Simonoff, E., Pickles, A., &
Eaves, L. J. (1998). Assortative mating for major psychiatric diag-
noses in two population-based samples. Psychological Medicine, 28,
1389-1401. doi:10.1017/S0033291798007326
Mascie-Taylor, C. G. (1989). Spouse similarity for IQ and personality
and convergence. Beha v i o r a l G e n e t i c s , 19, 223-227.
Mazzanti, C. M., Lappalainen, J., Long, J. C., Bengel, D,. Naukkarinen,
H., Eggert, M., Virkkunen, M., Linnoila, M., & Goldman, D. (1998).
Role of the serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism in anxiety-
related traits. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55, 936-940.
McCrae, R. R., Costa, P. T., Martin, T. A., Oryol, V. E., Ruvishnikov,
A. A., & Senin, I. G. (2008). Personality trait similarity between
spouses in four cultures. Journal of Research on Personality, 76,
Merikangas, K. R. (1982). Assortative mating for psychiatric disorders
and psychological traits. Archives of General Psychiatry, 39, 1173-
1180. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1982.04290100043007
Miller, G. F. (1997). Mate choice: From sexual cues to cognitive adap-
tations. Ciba Foundation Symposium, 208, 74-87.
Murstein, B. I., & Williams, P. D. (1985). Assortative matching for
sex-role and marriage adjustment. Personality and Individual Dif-
ferences, 6, 195-201. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(85)90109-6
Neale, M. C., & Cardon, L. R. (1992). Methodology for genetic studies
of twins and families. Doordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Nunnally, J., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.).
New York: McGraw-Hill.
Parnas, J. (1988). Assortative mating in schizophrenia: Results from the
Copenhagen high-risk study. Psychiatry, 51, 58-64.
Pederson, N. L., Plomin, R., McClearn, G. E., & Friberg, L. (1988).
Neuroticism, extraversion and related traits in adult twins reared
apart and reared together. Journal of Personality and Social Psychol-
ogy, 55, 950-957. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.55.6.950
Pediaditakis, N. (1998). Factors and their origins in mate selection and
choice among humans: Implications for individual psychotherapy
and counseling. Medical Hyp o t heses, 51, 359-366.
Price, R. A., & Vandenberg, S. G. (1980). Spouse similarity in Ameri-
can and Swedish couples. Behav i o r G e n e t i c s , 10, 59-71.
Rao, D. C., Morton, N. E., & Yee, S. (1974). Analysis of family resem-
blance II. A linear model for familial correlation. American Journal
of Human Genetics, 26, 331-359
Richard, L. S., Wakefield, J. A., & Lewak, R. (1990). Similarity of
personality variables as predictors of marital satisfaction: A Minne-
sota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) item analysis. Per-
sonality and Individual Differences, 11, 39-43.
Richardson, H. M. (1939). Studies of mental resemblance between
husbands and wives and between friends. Psychological Bulletin, 36,
104-120. doi:10.1037/h0063390
Ricketts, M. H., Hamer, R. M., Sage, J. I., Manowitz, P., Feng, F., &
Menza, M. A. (1998). Association of a serotonin transporter gene
promoter polymorphism with harm avoidance behaviour in an eld-
erly population. Psychiatric Genetics, 8, 41-44.
Rushton, J. P., Russell, R. J. H., & Wells, P. A. (1984). Genetic similar-
ity theory: Beyond kin selection. Behavior Genetics, 14, 179-193.
Russel, R. J. H., & Wells, P. A. (1991). Personality similarity and qual-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 17
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
ity of marriage. Personality and Individual Differences, 12, 407-412.
Samochowiec, J., Rybakowski, F., Czerski, P., Zakrzewska, M., Ste-
pien, G., Pelka-Wysiecka, J., Horodnicki, J., Rybakowski, J. K., &
Hauser, J. (2001). Polymorphisms in the dopamine, serotonin, and
norepinephrine transporter genes and their relationship to tempera-
mental dimensions measured by the Temperament and Character In-
ventory in healthy volunteers. Neuropsychobiology, 43, 248-253.
Staner, L., Hilger, C., Hentges, F., Monreal, J., Hoffmann, A., Coutu-
rier, M., Le Bon, O., Stefos, G., Souery, D., & Mendlewicz, J. (1998).
Association between novelty-seeking and the dopamine D3 receptor
gene in bipolar patients: A preliminary report. American Journal of
Medical Genetics, 81, 192-194.
Sutton, G. C. (1993). Do men grow to resemble their wives, or vice-
versa? Journal of Biosocial S ci en ce , 25, 25-29.
Tellegen, A., Lykken, D. T., Bouchard, T. J., Wilcox, K., Segal, N., &
Rich, A. (1988). Personality similarity in twins reared together and
apart. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 1031-1039.
Thiessen, D. D., & Gregg, B. (1980). Human assortative mating and
genetic equilibrium: An evolutionary perspective. Ethology and So-
ciobiology, 1, 111-140. doi:10.1016/0162-3095(80)90003-5
Vandenberg, S. G. (1972). Assortative mating, or marries whom? Be-
havioral Genetics, 2, 127-158. doi:10.1007/BF01065686
Weinberg, W. (1908). Über den Nachweis der Vererbung beim
Menchen. Jahresh. Verein f. vaterl. Naturk in Wruttemberg, 64, 368-
Zonderman, A. B., Vandenberg, S. G., Spuhler, K. P., & Fain, P. R.
(1977). Assortative marriage for cognitive abilities. Behavior Genet-
ics, 7, 261-271. doi:10.1007/BF01066279