PhD student in Psychology
Université du Québec à Montréal
Award-winning publication: Gene–environment interplay in the link of friends' and nonfriends' behaviors with children's social reticence in a competitive situation
Published in: Developmental Psychology, 2013
"Social reticence (voluntarily isolating oneself from peers) in young children is a major risk factor for the development of psychological problems and difficulties in relationships and school during childhood and adolescence. The development of social reticence is driven by genetic and environmental factors (e.g. role of peers) about which little is known. My research helps elucidate these factors and pinpoint notable differences based on gender. Boys and girls experience social reticence differently, and the roles of friends and non-friend peers are also gender-differentiated."
To conduct this study, Fanny-Alexandra Guimond and her team observed six-year-old children with a tendency to isolate themselves in competitive situations. Two factors identified as problematic in the children's environments were determined: socially reticent friends and peers who are dominant in challenging social situations. While current programs only account for the problematic behaviours of the children, the research highlights the significance of considering a child's environment and gender differences. Fanny-Alexandra Guimond is now seeking to establish new guidelines for the development of prevention and intervention initiatives to support children with psychosocial difficulties such as social reticence.