Capturing the temporal sequence of interaction in young siblings

Micheal Perlman, Mark Lyons-Amos, George Leckie, Fiona Steele, Jenny Jenkins

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We explored whether young children exhibit subtypes of behavioral sequences during sibling interaction. Ten-minute, free-play observations of over 300 sibling dyads were coded for positivity, negativity and disengagement. The data were analyzed using growth mixture modeling (GMM). Younger (18-month-old) children’s temporal behavioral sequences showed a harmonious (53%) and a casual (47%) class. Older (approximately four-year-old) children’s behavior was more differentiated revealing a harmonious (25%), a deteriorating (31%), a recovery (22%) and a casual (22%) class. A more positive maternal affective climate was associated with more positive patterns. Siblings’ sequential behavioral patterns tended to be complementary rather than reciprocal in nature. The study illustrates a novel use of GMM and makes a theoretical contribution by showing that young children exhibit distinct types of temporal behavioral sequences that are related to parenting processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0126353
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2015


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