, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 437–447 | Cite as

Sibling, peer, neighbor, and schoolmate correlations as indicators of the importance of context for adolescent development

  • Greg J. Duncan
  • Johanne Boisjoly
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris
The Context of Child Development


We use nationally representative data to calculate correlations in achievement and delinquency between genetically differentiated siblings within a family, between peers as defined by adolescents’ “best friend” nominations, between schoolmates living in the same neighborhood, and between grademates within a school. We find the largest correlations between siblings, especially identical twins. Grademate and neighbor correlations are small. Peer-based correlations are considerably larger than grademate and neighbor correlations but not larger than most sibling correlations. The data suggest that family-based factors are several times more powerful than neighborhood and school contexts in affecting adolescents’ achievement and behavior.


Adolescent Development Neighborhood Factor Behavioral Genetic Sibling Correlation Neighborhood Influence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Greg J. Duncan
    • 1
  • Johanne Boisjoly
    • 2
  • Kathleen Mullan Harris
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Policy ResearchNorthwestern UniversityEvanston
  2. 2.Department of Human SciencesUniversity of Quebec at RimouskiRimouskiCanada
  3. 3.Department of SociologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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