Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 2057–2067 | Cite as

Twins’ Agreement on Negative and Positive Life Experiences

  • Vanessa AzevedoEmail author
  • Flávia Fernandes-Costa
  • Ângela Maia
Original Paper


Most studies of life experiences rely on retrospective self-reports due to the major advantages of this method of data collection. However, some clinicians and researchers express doubts regarding the reliability of self-reports about lived experiences. One option to explore reliability is to assess two or more sources of information, a procedure usually labeled agreement, which consists of the comparison of a self-report (main participant) and a collateral report, to assess whether both reporters describe the same experiences (concordance) and/or to explore whether the collateral confirms the experiences reported by the main participant (corroboration). We studied concordance and corroboration of positive and negative life experiences in 47 pairs of adult twins (N = 94), both genders, 18–50 years of age; 32 pairs were monozygotic. Participants were asked about their own life experiences (to assess concordance) and about their twin’s life experiences (to assess corroboration). Overall agreement between twins was quite acceptable, although it was heterogeneous across items and/or domains. For instance, physical abuse presented a moderate kappa for concordance, while sexual abuse achieved a poor kappa. Corroboration presented globally higher kappa than concordance, suggesting that twins seem to be especially good source of collateral information. Remarkably, when valence (i.e., positive vs. negative experiences) was analyzed, concordance and corroboration were higher for positives experiences than for negative ones. Our results suggest that self- and collateral-reports are reliable means of assessing life experiences, which has important implications for future research.


Life events Reliability Self-reports Twins Family 


Author Contributions

V.A.: designed the study, analyzed the data, wrote part of the paper and review the manuscript. F.F.C.: designed the study, collected and analyzed the data and wrote part of the manuscript; A.M.: designed the study, assisted with the data analyses, the writing of the study and the review of the manuscript.


This study was conducted at Psychology Research Centre (UID/PSI/01662/2013), University of Minho, and supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science through national funds and co-financed by FEDER through COMPETE2020 under the PT2020 Partnership Agreement (POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007653).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and or/ national research committee and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1964 and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This study was approved by the IRB of School of Psychology (University of Minho).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Azevedo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Flávia Fernandes-Costa
    • 1
  • Ângela Maia
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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