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ERIC Number: EJ1075099
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Evidence of Reactive Gene-Environment Correlation in Preschoolers' Prosocial Play with Unfamiliar Peers
DiLalla, Lisabeth Fisher; Bersted, Kyle; John, Sufna Gheyara
Developmental Psychology, v51 n10 p1464-1475 Oct 2015
The development of prosocial behaviors during the preschool years is essential for children's positive interactions with peers in school and other social situations. Although there is some evidence of genetic influences on prosocial behaviors, very little is known about how genes and environment, independently and in concert, affect prosocial behaviors in young children. This study of 126 twin and sibling pairs examined 5-year-old preschool children's positive behaviors (prosocial and easy-going) while playing freely with an unfamiliar, same-age, same-sex peer. Children were randomly paired, allowing us to rule out passive (parent-influenced environment) and active (child-driven peer choices) gene-environment correlations as potential influences on the results. We found evidence of reactive gene-environment correlation, demonstrating that children who are genetically more likely to act prosocially and to be temperamentally outgoing appear to evoke more prosocial and easy-going behaviors from an unfamiliar peer. We also found that both dominant genetic and nonshared environmental factors were significant influences on preschoolers' prosocial play behaviors, but that neither genetic nor shared environmental factors were significant for easy-going play behaviors. These findings shed important light on influences of prosocial behaviors in preschoolers. Via inherited tendencies, preschool children's positive behaviors evoke similar positive behaviors from their play peers. Given that prosocial behaviors are preludes to a large range of important socially appropriate behaviors, prosocial children should be encouraged to interact with their peers to potentially create a more positive atmosphere within social contexts.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A