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      Children's Vulnerability to Interparental Conflict: The Protective Role of Sibling Relationship Quality

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          Abstract

          This study tested whether the strength of the mediational pathway involving interparental conflict, adolescent emotional insecurity, and their psychological problems depended on the quality of their sibling relationships. Using a multi-method approach, 236 adolescents ( Mean age = 12.6 years) and their parents participated in three annual measurement occasions. Tests of moderated mediation revealed that indirect paths among interparental conflict, insecurity, and psychological problems were significant for teens with low, but not high, quality bonds with siblings. High quality (i.e., strong) sibling relationships conferred protection by neutralizing interparental conflict as a precursor of increases in adolescent insecurity. Results did not vary as a function of the valence of sibling relationship properties, adolescent sex, or gender and age compositions of the dyad.

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          Most cited references31

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          Sibling Relationships and Influences in Childhood and Adolescence.

          The authors review the literature on sibling relationships in childhood and adolescence, starting by tracing themes from foundational research and theory and then focusing on empirical research during the past 2 decades. This literature documents siblings' centrality in family life, sources of variation in sibling relationship qualities, and the significance of siblings for child and adolescent development and adjustment. Sibling influences emerge not only in the context of siblings' frequent and often emotionally intense interactions but also by virtue of siblings' role in larger family system dynamics. Although siblings are building blocks of family structure and key players in family dynamics, their role has been relatively neglected by family scholars and by those who study close relationships. Incorporating study of siblings into family research provides novel insights into the operation of families as social and socializing systems.
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            Siblings

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              Perceptions of sibling relationships during middle childhood and adolescence.

              Children in grades 3, 6, 9, and 12 were administered the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire. Relationships were rated as progressively more egalitarian across the 4 grade groups, with adolescents reporting less dominance and nurturance by their older siblings than younger participants. Adolescents also reported less companionship, intimacy, and affection with siblings than younger participants reported. Levels of perceived conflict with younger siblings were moderately high across all 4 grades, whereas ratings of conflict with older siblings were progressively lower across the 4 grades. The findings suggested that sibling relationships: (a) become more egalitarian and less asymmetrical with age, (b) become less intense with age, and (c) encompass experiences that are partially determined by the child's standing in the family constellation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Child Development
                Child Dev
                Wiley
                00093920
                June 19 2018
                Affiliations
                [1 ]University of Rochester
                [2 ]University of Nebraska-Lincoln
                [3 ]University of Notre Dame
                Article
                10.1111/cdev.13078
                6301125
                29916198
                ddfa4677-39f1-416c-a418-07b15a9c589e
                © 2018

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/termsAndConditions#vor

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