Bright, Melissa Ann
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In this paper mother-child concordance of heart rate was examined in a middle childhood sample. Previous research was mixed with regard to the ‘harmful’ versus ‘beneficial’ function of physiological concordance. Two person-oriented approaches that allowed for examination of multiple types of concordance – dyadic indices and model based cluster analyses – were used to compare relations between concordance and behavioral observations of emotion-related, dyadic relationship characteristics. Similar relations between multiple types of concordance (as measured by multiple dyadic indices) and relationship characteristics suggest that the mix of relations previously found in the literature is not due to differences in statistical measurement. Cluster analyses of average reactivity revealed two distinct clusters (mutual high and mutual low reactivity). Compared to mutual high reactivity dyads, mutual low reactivity dyads demonstrated greater positive relationship characteristics. Combined these results suggest that the implications for concordance may be different when considering the degree of similarity compared to the nature of the physiological activity experienced by both dyad members. Future research would benefit from inclusion of continuous heart rate measurement, comparison of inter-system similarities in concordance, and examination of developmental changes in concordance.