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The links between sibling relationships and the whole family

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1 The links between sibling relationships and the whole family
Latashia Gilkes Dr. Jean-Marie St Clair Christman Pennsylvania State University Human Development and Family Studies

2 Abstract The links between change in sibling relationships and the changes made other relationships within the family system was examined. Participants in the studies consisted of two parents (mother and father), two or more children between the ages of 8 to 17 from working- middle class families. The data collected showed there are three types of sibling relationships; distant, positive, and negative. Family cohesion was negatively associated with externalizing behavior on sibling relationships. The more intimacy and closeness in the sibling dyad increased the child-parent relationship of each sibling. The strongest relationships based on intimacy and togetherness was of same sex sibling dyads. However, older siblings had more control over the sibling dyad and have an effect on the younger sibling- parent relationship. The results show parent- child relationships vary based on warmth, birth order, and externalizing behavior.

3 Introduction Sibling relationships are not the first thing mentioned when talking about family systems. Siblings are an important part of the family as they will have the longest lasting relationship within the family, growing and developing together. The relationship between siblings is different from the rest of the family i.e. a parent -child relationship. These relationship types determine the quality of child-parent relationship as well sibling relationship. But what does the sibling relationship contribute to family cohesion and to other family dyads and vice versa? Here is a look at how each relationship interacts with each other and plays a role to uphold the family.

4 Methods & Measures Longitudinal studies were conducted through videotaped home interviews. The participants consisted of working- middle class families with both parents and two children between the ages of The family income ranged from $49,000-84,000. The method to collect participates were through mailed surveys and local advertisement. The families were interviewed individually. Parents were questioned about their children’s relationship and children were questioned about the relationship with each parent.

5 Results Families displayed moderate levels of cohesiveness. There were no significant differences in parent- child hostility and externalizing behavior in older siblings. Family cohesion was negatively associated with parent child hostility. Fathers were more hostile toward their children and were associated with sibling externalizing behavior. The age or status of the siblings was not a significant predictor for externalizing behavior. The male siblings had more externalizing problems than girls. Families who were more cohesive had siblings who had less externalizing problems.

6 Family influence on sibling relationship
DAD MOM Older Sibling Younger Sibling

7 Discussion Overall the family dynamics between siblings and parents depend on the type of relationship they have with each other. The relationship also depends on externalizing behavior of the children and the hostility of the parents. The less cohesion and togetherness the family has the more problems they will face with all dyads within the family. Positive relationships between parent and child can increase the relationship between siblings and also parents.

8 Discussion Family cohesion was related to individual problems due to parent –child hostility. If there is less family cohesion and more hostility from the parent, the child receiving it would have more problems. However the relationship between the siblings would not change if there was less cohesion and hostility. The more cohesion between the members in the family, the more cohesion there will be in the different dyads. Older siblings determined the relationship between siblings and at times with parents. Positive relations between parent child relationships were a predictor for both siblings adjustment. Over time when sibling relationships changed so did family dynamics. Siblings tend to become more differentiated and externalizing behavior decreases.

9 References Feinberg, M.E, Reiss, D., Neiderhiser, J.M, & Hetherington, E. M. (2005). Differential association of family subsystem negativity on siblings’ maladjustment: Using behavior genetic methods to test process theory. Journal of Family Psychology, 19(4), Kim, J.Y., McHale, S.M., Crouter, A.C., & Osgood, D.W. (2007). Longitudinal linkages between sibling’s relationships and adjustment form middle childhood through adolescence. Developmental Psychology 43 (4) Kowal, A.K., Krull, J.L &Kramer, L. (2004). How the differential treatment of siblings is lined with parent-child relationship quality. Journal of Family Psychology, 18(4), McHale, S.M., Whiteman, S.D., Kim, J., & Crouter, A.C. (2007). Characteristics and correlates of sibling relationships in two- parent African American families. Journal of Family Psychology, 21(2), Pike, A., Coldwell, J., & Dunn, J.F. (2005). Siblings relationships in early/middle childhood: links with individual adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 19 (4), Richmond, M.K., & Stocker, C.M. (2006). Associations between family cohesion and adolescent siblings’ externalizing behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(4), Whiteman, S. D., & Christiansen, A. (2008). Processes of sibling influence in adolescence: individual and family correlates. Journal of Family Relations, 57, Williams, S. T., Conger, K. J., & Blozis, S. A. (2007). The development of interpersonal aggression during adolescence: the importance of parents, siblings, and family economics. Journal of Child Development, 78,

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