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Similarity of behavioral profiles among friends in early childhood

Abstract : This study aimed to assess whether behavioral similarity is associated with social preferences in early childhood. Longitudinal observations of social interactions among children in a nursery school throughout a school year and behavioral sociometry were used to explore whether a) children who preferred to interact with some peers more than with other peers exhibited social behavioral profiles that were more similar to those of their preferred partners than to those of the less or nonpreferred peers and b) whether similarity between preferred partners increased over time. Our findings revealed that most of the children were highly selective in their peer affiliations, that is, children interacted with a small number of available peers. However, the similarity of behavioral profiles was not greater between children who preferred to interact together than between children who did not. The only differences in the similarity of behavioral profiles that were statistically significant were found for children who appeared the most frequently as nonpreferred peers. The behavioral profiles of the nonpreferred children were less similar to the children with whom they preferred to interact. Finally, although similarity did not increase between preferred partners over the school year, a general convergence was observed in behavioral profiles within the entire peer group; that is, on average, differences in classmates' social behaviors were reduced over the school year. Findings are discussed from a developmental perspective. Conceptual and methodological issues are also examined.
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Submitted on : Monday, June 6, 2016 - 3:36:57 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 11:34:50 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01327257, version 1


Stéphanie Barbu. Similarity of behavioral profiles among friends in early childhood. Child Health and Education, Simon Fraser University, 2009, 1 (1), pp.5-18. ⟨hal-01327257⟩



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