Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

DiLalla, Lisabeth


This study explored the stability and heritability of novelty seeking, defiance, and rule-breaking in early childhood using a twin sample. Parent reports of novelty seeking were assessed at ages 3 and 4, parent reports of rule-breaking were assessed at ages 5 and follow-up (6-16), and observer reports of defiance were assessed at age 5. Results showed that novelty seeking increased between ages 3 and 4, and rule-breaking remained stable from age 5 to follow-up (6-16). All constructs demonstrated significant heritability. Finally, neither novelty seeking nor defiance predicted 5-year-old rule-breaking. Defiance was the only construct that significantly predicted follow-up rule-breaking. Defiance and rule-breaking in early childhood were predictive of later rule-breaking, indicating that children may benefit from early intervention to reduce later rule-breaking behaviors.




This thesis is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.