Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 447–453

Sibling Conflict Resolution Skills: Assessment and Training

Original Paper


Sibling conflict can rise to the level of a clinical problem. In Phase 1 a lengthy behavioral role-play analog sampling child reactions to normal sibling conflicts was successfully shortened. In Phase 2 normal children who lacked sibling conflict resolution skills were randomly assigned to a Training or Measurement Only condition. Training consisted of five clinic sessions focusing on verbal reasoning, assertiveness, and acceptance skills. Trained children outperformed Measurement Only children on the shortened role-play test. Parents of trained children, but not untrained children, perceived improved social competence in the home. The project provides an empirical foundation for future research with aggressive siblings.


Children Siblings Aggression Social skills 


  1. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2000). Manual for the ASEBA school-age forms & profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont.Google Scholar
  2. Allison, T. S., & Allison, S. L. (1971). Timeout from reinforcement: Effect on sibling aggression. The Psychological Record, 21, 81–86.Google Scholar
  3. Arnold, S. B. (1990). Creation and validation of an instrument for the assessment of sibling social skills. Unpublished master’s thesis, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID.Google Scholar
  4. Boer, F., & Dunn, J. (1992). Children’s sibling relationships: Developmental and ethical issues. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  5. Brody, G. H., Stoneman, Z., & MacKinnon, C. E. (1986). Contributions of maternal child-rearing practices and play contexts to sibling interactions. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 7, 235–236. doi:10.1016/0193-3973(86)90031-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carter, A. S., & Volkman, F. R. (1992). Sibling rivalry: Diagnostic category or focus of treatment? In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 14, pp. 289–295). New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  7. Dunn, J. (1983). Sibling relationships in early childhood. Child Development, 54, 787–811. doi:10.2307/1129886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dunn, J. (1988). Sibling influences on childhood development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 29, 119–127. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1988.tb00697.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunn, J., & Munn, P. (1987). Development of justification in disputes with mother and sibling. Developmental Psychology, 23, 791–798. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.23.6.791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dunn, J., Stocker, C., & Plomin, R. (1990). Assessing the relationship between young siblings: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 31, 983–991. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.1990.tb00839.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hawkins, R. P., Peterson, R. F., Schweid, E., & Bijou, S. W. (1966). Behavior therapy in the home: Amelioration of problem parent-child relations with the parent in a therapeutic role. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 4, 99–107. doi:10.1016/0022-0965(66)90054-3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jones, R. N., Sloane, H. N., & Roberts, M. W. (1992). Limitations of “don’t” instructional control. Behavior Therapy, 23, 131–140. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(05)80313-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kramer, L., & Bank, L. (2005). Sibling relationship contributions to individual and family well-being: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 483–485. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.19.4.483.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kramer, L., & Radey, C. (1997). Improving sibling relationships among young children: A social skills training model. Family Relations, 46, 237–246. doi:10.2307/585121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lund, J., & Merrell, K. W. (2001). Social and antisocial behavior of children with learning and behavioral disorder: Construct validity of the Home and community Social Behavior Scales. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 19, 112–122. doi:10.1177/073428290101900201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Myers, J. D., & Bean, L. L. (1968). A decade later: A follow-up of social class and mental illness. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  17. O’Leary, K. D., O’Leary, S., & Becker, W. C. (1967). Modification of a deviant sibling interaction pattern in the home. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 5, 113–120. doi:10.1016/0005-7967(67)90005-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Olson, R. L., & Roberts, M. W. (1987). Alternative treatments for sibling aggression. Behavior Therapy, 18, 243–250. doi:10.1016/S0005-7894(87)80018-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Patterson, G. R. (1984). Siblings: Fellow travelers in coercive family processes. In R. J. Blanchard & D. C. Blanchard (Eds.), Advances in the study of aggression (Vol. 1, pp. 173–215). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  20. Patterson, G. R. (1986). The contribution of siblings to training for fighting: A microsocial analysis. In D. Olweus, J. Block, & M. Radke-Yarrow (Eds.), Development of antisocial and prosocial behavior (pp. 235–261). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  21. Putallaz, M., & Gottman, J. (1983). Social relationship problems in children: An approach to intervention. In B. B. Lahey & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology (Vol. 6, pp. 1–43). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  22. Roberts, M. W., Arnold, S. B., & Mangum, P. F. (1992). The sibling conflict resolution scale. The Behavior Therapist, 15, 254–255.Google Scholar
  23. Schroeder, C. S., & Gordon, B. N. (1991). Assessment and treatment of childhood problems: A clinician’s guide. New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
  24. Thomas, B. (2002). Sex differences in sibling conflict and sibling conflict resolution skills. Unpublished master’s thesis, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID.Google Scholar
  25. Thomas, B., Roberts, M., Guajardo, N., & Jamison, H. (2002, November). The sibling conflict resolution scale. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Reno, NV.Google Scholar
  26. Thomas, B. W., & Roberts, M. W. (2006, November). Training siblings to resolve conflicts. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Chicago.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mountain States Counseling & Psychological ServicesBoiseUSA
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentIdaho State UniversityPocatelloUSA

Personalised recommendations