, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 299-310
Date: 26 Oct 2012

Sibling Proactive and Reactive Aggression in Adolescence

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We describe sibling proactive and reactive aggression in middle and late adolescence. Participants were 8th (n = 303, M age = 13.74 years, SD = .59) and 12th (n = 300, M age = 17.73 years, SD = .56) grade adolescents who completed an in-school survey. Findings revealed that these adolescents were significantly more likely to engage in reactive than proactive aggression with their closest-aged sibling. However, 8th grade adolescents reported greater aggression toward their closest-aged sibling than did 12th grade adolescents. In addition, sex composition of the sibling dyad moderated the association between sibling relationship quality (i.e., warmth and rivalry) and both proactive and reactive aggression indicating unique links for brother-brother and older sister-younger brother pairs.

This research was supported by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. We are grateful to the youth who participated in this project. We thank our team members Eleanor Jaffee, Meghan Mills, and a group of graduate and undergraduate students.