A behavior genetic analysis of the tendency for youth to associate according to GPA

J. C. Barnes, Kevin M. Beaver, Jacob Young, Michael TenEyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


Behavior genetic research has revealed that many "environmental" variables are partially influenced by genetic factors. Known as gene-environment correlation (rGE), this line of scholarship provides insight on how and why individuals select into certain environments. Juxtaposing this body of evidence with research on peer group homophily-the tendency for peers to resemble one another on certain traits such as academic ability-raised two research hypotheses: (1) youth will associate with peers who receive grades similar to themselves (i.e., homophily for GPA); and (2) a portion of the variance in peer group GPA (i.e., the peer network average GPA) will be explained by individuals' genetic self-selection into the peer group (rGE). The results supported both hypotheses by showing a strong predictive relationship between the target individual's GPA and that of his/her peers and by revealing that 72% of the variance in peer group GPA was explained by genetic influences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-49
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Networks
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014



  • Active gene-environment correlation (rGE)
  • Behavior genetic
  • Homophily
  • Peer network GPA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Anthropology
  • Psychology(all)

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