Examining transactional influences between reading achievement and antisocially-behaving friends

Sara A Hart, Amy J Mikolajewski, Wendy Johnson, Christopher Schatschneider, Jeanette Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The association between poorer academic outcomes and having antisocial friends is reliably demonstrated yet not well understood. Genetically sensitive designs uniquely allow for measuring genetic vulnerabilities and/or environmental risk in the association of antisocial friend behavior and poor school achievement, allowing for a better understanding of the nature of the association. This study included 233 pairs of twins from the Florida Twin Project on Reading. First, the role of antisocial friends as an environmental moderator of reading comprehension was examined. Antisocial friends significantly moderated the nonshared environmental variance in reading comprehension, with increased variation at lower levels of association with antisocial friends, with niche-picking indicated. Second, the role of reading comprehension as an environmental moderator of antisocial friends was examined. Reading comprehension significantly moderated the nonshared environmental variance in associating with antisocial friends, with increased variance at lower levels of reading comprehension and indication that common genetic influences contributed to higher reading achievement and better-behaved friends. In total, these results suggested reciprocal influences between reading achievement and antisocially-behaving friends. The impact of antisocial friends appeared to be limited in the extent to which they can undermine reading achievement, and high reading achievement appeared to support less association with antisocial friends.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014

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