Parent- and Observer-Rated Positive Affect in Early Childhood: Genetic Overlap and Environmental Specificity
The sources of individual differences in both observed and parent-rated positive affect (PA) were examined in a sample of 304 3-year-old twin pairs (140 MZ, 164 DZ). Based on model-fitting analyses, individual differences in observed PA were attributed to moderate genetic and high nonshared environmental factors, but not shared environmental factors. In contrast, shared environmental effects accounted for over half of the variance in parent-rated PA and genetic and nonshared environmental effects were more modest. The genetic correlation across the two measures was high, indicating substantial overlap between genetic factors influencing the two. It was these overlapping genetic effects that fully explained the phenotypic correlation between both measures. There was no significant covariance between the environmental influences on parent rated and observed PA. Thus, the two measures of PA in early childhood have common genetic underpinnings, whereas environmental influences are measure-specific. Measurement implications are discussed.
KeywordsPositive affect Observer-rated Parent-rated Genetics Temperament Early childhood
This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (MH062375) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD068435) Grants to Dr. Saudino. Megan Flom is supported by F31MH114590.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
Megan Flom, Kendra Uccello, Manjie Wang, and Kimberly Saudino declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Bayley N (1993) Bayley scales of infant development, 2nd edn. Psychological Coporation, San AntonioGoogle Scholar
- Carr A (2011) Positive psychology: The science of happiness and human strengths, 2nd edn. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Cohen DJ, Dibble E, Grawe JM (1977) Fathers’ and mothers’ perceptions of children’s personality. Arch Gen Psychiatry 34(4):480–487. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770160114010 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Goldsmith HH, Reilly J, Lemery KS, Longley S, Prescott A (1999b) The laboratory assessment battery: Preschool version (LAB-TAB). University of Wisconsin, MadisonGoogle Scholar
- Hollingshead AB (1975) Four factor index of social status. http://www.academia.edu/download/30754699/yjs_fall_2011.pdf#page=21
- Lykken D, Tellegen A (1996) Happiness is a stochastic phenomenon. Psychol Sci 7(3):186–189. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1996.tb00355.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Menne-Lothmann C, Jacobs N, Derom C, Thiery E, van Os J, Wichers M (2012) Genetic and environmental causes of individual differences in daily life positive affect and reward experience and its overlap with stress-sensitivity. Behav Genet 42(5):778–786. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-012-9553-y CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Neale MC, Boker SM, Xie G, Maes HH (2006) Mx: statistical modeling, 7th edn. VCU, RichmondGoogle Scholar
- Saudino KJ (2017) Rater bias models. In: Wiley StatsRef: Statistics Reference Online. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118445112.stat06373.pub2
- Saudino KJ, Wang M (2012) Quantitative and molecular genetic studies of temperament. In: Zentner M, Shiner RL, M, (Ed) Zentner, RL, (Ed) Shiner (eds) Handbook of temperament. Guilford Press, New York, pp 315–346Google Scholar
- Smith AK, Rhee SH, Corley RP, Friedman NP, Hewitt JK, Robinson JL (2012) The magnitude of genetic and environmental influences on parental and observational measures of behavioral inhibition and shyness in toddlerhood. Behav Genet 42(5):764–777. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10519-012-9551-0 CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Watson D, Naragon K (2009) Positive affectivity: the disposition to experience positive emotional states. In: Lopez SJ, Snyder CR, Lopez SJ, Snyder CR (eds) Oxford handbook of positive psychology, 2nd edn. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 207–215Google Scholar