The Dissociation between Adult Intelligence and Personality with Respect to Maltreatment Episodes and Externalizing Behaviors Occurring in Childhood

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Here we analyze the simultaneous relationships among five variables. Two refer to childhood (episodes of various forms of maltreatment and externalizing behaviors), whereas three refer to early adulthood (intelligence, personality, and socialization difficulties). The 120 individuals considered for the present report were invited from the 650 schoolchildren participating in the Longitudinal Study of Intelligence and Personality (Minas Gerais, Brazil). The complete sample was recruited in 2002 (T1; mean age = 10.0; standard deviation (SD) = 2.2) and 120 were tested again in 2014-17 (T2; mean age = 23.5; SD = 2.2). Externalizing behaviors were registered at T1, whereas the remaining variables were obtained at T2. These were the main results: (1) externalizing behaviors predict future social effectiveness (as estimated by the general factor of personality derived from the NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO-PI-R) and socialization difficulties computed from the socialization scale (SOC)) and future intelligence performance (as assessed by a set of fluid and crystallized tests); (2) episodes of self-reported childhood maltreatment predict social effectiveness, but not intelligence; (3) maltreatment and externalizing behaviors are unrelated; and (4) social effectiveness (personality) and intelligence are unrelated. Therefore, the findings support the dissociation between adult intelligence and personality with respect to maltreatment episodes and externalizing behaviors occurring in childhood. Implications of these findings for social policies aimed at preventing adult socially ineffective personalities are underscored.