• Keeping Friends

Friendship: All in the (sic) Jeans

Published: August 17, 2007 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | Reply Continue Reading

How do we decide whom we choose as friends?

Findings from a new study at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine, funded by the National Institutes of Health, suggests that our choice of friends may be genetic.

“As we grow and move out of our own home environment, our genetically influenced temperament becomes more and more important in influencing the kinds of friends we like to hang out with,” says Dr. Kendler. “The study shows how genetic and family environmental factors influence the ways in which we create our own social environment as we grow.”…

Dr. Kenneth S. Kendler, a professor of psychiatry and genetics at VCU, and his colleagues examined peer group deviance among approximately 1,800 male twin pairs from mid-childhood to early adulthood, between 1998 and 2004. The twin pairs in the study were from the Virginia Twin Registry.

Through a series of interviews, researchers found that genetic factors increasingly impact how twins make choices as they mature and develop their own social groups.

The same research also offers insight into which individuals may be at risk for future substance abuse or antisocial behavior. “The effects of peers in adolescence can be quite powerful, either encouraging or discouraging deviant behaviors,” says Kendler. “Peers also provide access to substances of abuse.”

It’s unclear whether these findings also apply to women. The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Source: VCU Press Release: Genetic Factors Strongly Shape How Peers are Chosen, August 6, 2007

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