BACKGROUND The Child and Adolescent Twin Study in Sweden (CATSS) is an on-going, large population-based longitudinal twin study. We aimed (1) to investigate the reliability of two different versions (125-items and 238-items) of Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) used in the CATSS and the validity of extracting the short version from the long version, (2) to compare these personality dimensions between twins and adolescents from the general population, and (3) to investigate the genetic structure of Cloninger's model. METHOD Reliability and correlation analyses were conducted for both TCI versions, 2,714 CATSS-twins were compared to 631 adolescents from the general population, and the genetic structure was investigated through univariate genetic analyses, using a model-fitting approach with structural equation-modeling techniques based on same-sex twin pairs from the CATSS (423 monozygotic and 408 dizygotic pairs). RESULTS The TCI scores from the short and long versions showed comparable reliability coefficients and were strongly correlated. Twins scored about half a standard deviation higher in the character scales. Three of the four temperament dimensions (Novelty Seeking, Harm Avoidance, and Persistence) had strong genetic and non-shared environmental effects, while Reward Dependence and the three character dimensions had moderate genetic effects, and both shared and non-shared environmental effects. CONCLUSIONS Twins showed higher scores in character dimensions compared to adolescents from the general population. At least among adolescents there is a shared environmental influence for all of the character dimensions, but only for one of the temperament dimensions (i.e., Reward Dependence). This specific finding regarding the existence of shared environmental factors behind the character dimensions in adolescence, together with earlier findings showing a small shared environmental effects on character among young adults and no shared environmental effects on character among adults, suggest that there is a shift in type of environmental influence from adolescence to adulthood regarding character.