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Within families: family-wide and child-specific influences on children’s socio-emotional development Jennifer Jenkins, Jon Rasbash, Tom O’Connor. Behavioral genetic findings of siblings being so different from one another once genetic effects were controlled .

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Within families: family-wide and child-specific influences on children’s socio-emotional development Jennifer Jenkins, Jon Rasbash, Tom O’Connor


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Behavioral genetic findings of siblings being so different from one another once genetic effects were controlled


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What is the effect of the family environment? from one another once genetic effects were controlled

Focus on the similar and different experiences

of siblings in families


Themes l.jpg
Themes from one another once genetic effects were controlled

  • Do family-wide or child-specific aspects of the environment predict change in child behavior?

  • How similar are children’s experiences in families? Does this vary as a function of stresses in the environment?

  • What are children’s own contributions to the stressful environments that they experience?


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Datasets from one another once genetic effects were controlled

  • NLSCY, ABSS, NEAD

  • All involve the inclusion of multiple children per family: between 2-4 depending on dataset

  • Some involve multi-informant data

  • Some results involve examining change in the response variable: longitudinal design

  • All use multilevel modeling for the analysis

Jenkins, Rasbash, O’Connor (2003) DP

Jenkins, Simpson, Dunn, Rasbash, O’Connor (2005) CD

Jenkins, Dunn, O’Connor, Rasbash, Behnke, JFP. In press

Rasbash, Jenkins, O’Connor, In preparation


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Majority of environmental studies of family influences from one another once genetic effects were controlled

family and child-specific processes are confounded

Outcome

Variable

Family A

Family

Family B

Level

Child Level

1

2

Between Family

Comparisons




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Do family-wide or child-specific aspects of the environment predict change in child behavior? Illustrate with results from sibling study



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Shared effects: Av maternal negativity predicts an increase in sibling negativity over 2 years

Family average is a stronger predictor

of sibling negativity than dyad-specific negativity


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Mean of sibling negativity as a function of gender of sibling dyad

*

*

Girl dyads differ significantly from mixed dyads


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Thus there are some systematic reasons that some dyads get on better than others

And shared experiences are important



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Shared family environments? on better than others

Families differ from one another on

how much parental conflict children

experience

Family Yellow

Family Pink

Family Blue

Exposure to parental conflict


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Shared family environments? on better than others

Children within families differ from one another on how much parental conflict they experience

Family Pink

Family Blue

Family Yellow

Exposure to parental conflict



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To what extent do siblings live in shared environments? conflict Does this vary as a function of environmental stress?Modeling differential experience in families


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Differential parental positivity as a function of SES, marital problems and family size.

family size = 2, no marital problems

5

family size = 2, marital problems

family size > 2, marital problems

family size > 2, no marital problems

4

differential positive parenting

3

2

1

-2.0

-1.5

-1.0

-0.5

0.0

0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

household ses


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Differential parental hostility as a function of single parenthood and marital dissatisfaction.

7.2

differential negativity

6.2

5.2

4.2

Intact/no marital

problem

Marital problem

Single parent


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Limitations of this method parenthood and marital dissatisfaction.

Measurement problems. Although in some of the studies the IV and DV are based on different informants, the family clustering information is based on single informant. Degree of family clustering that we see may be related to same person reporting on measures for different siblings


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Another method for examining similar and differential experiences in families as well as consistency of behavior when interacting with different members of the family


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Social relations model experiences in families as well as consistency of behavior when interacting with different members of the family

  • Every person in a family interacts with every other person

  • Rate each person’s expression of negativity and positivity towards every other family member

  • Data are observational


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Actor: c1 c2 m f

Within family structure

We start with 12 relationship scores in each family. These can be classified :

partner

actor

dyad and family

Family 1…

Dyad d1 d2 d3 d4 d5 d6

Relationship: c1c2c1mc1f c2c1c2m c2f mc1mc2mf fc1fc2fm

Partner: c1 c2 m f


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Interpretation of variance components c2 m f

Family:the extent to which families differ from one another

Actor: the extent to which individuals act similarly across relationships.

Partner:the extent to which individuals elicit the same behaviors from others.

Dyad:The extent to which emotion expression is specific to the dyad and based on reciprocity.


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Consistency of individual emotional expression across dyads: a function of the dyad or the individual?


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% of variance explained by actor, partner and dyad for positivity and negativity:

People are very consistent in their positivity across relationships irrespective of what their interactional partner is doing. Not so of negativity.

The partner effect is surprisingly small


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Negativity is less internal to the person and more sparked off by behavior of interactional partner than positivityHigh reciprocity for negativity


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Extent to which families are different from one another off by behavior of interactional partner than positivity


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% of variance at the family level off by behavior of interactional partner than positivity


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Do characteristics of individuals affect the dyads in which they interact or do they exert their influence across the whole family?

Example depression


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An individual’s depression score may explain they interact or do they exert their influence across the whole family? family level variance or only variance in dyads in which the individual is a member.





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Advantages of multilevel methods for family data POSITIVITY

  • Differentiating between family-wide and child-specific processes in families

  • Highly stressful environments increase the variation in the within family environment

  • Social relations model allows us to look at consistency of individual’s behavior in families, how different families are from one another and why


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Disadvantages of multilevel approach to families POSITIVITY

For psychologists the statistics get very

complicated

Cross discipline collaboration is essential!!!


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