Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 687–697 | Cite as

Similarities and Differences in Adolescent Siblings’ Alcohol-Related Attitudes, Use, and Delinquency: Evidence for Convergent and Divergent Influence Processes

  • Shawn D. Whiteman
  • Alexander C. Jensen
  • Jennifer L. Maggs
Empirical Research


A growing body of research indicates that siblings influence each other’s risky and deviant behaviors during adolescence. Guided by research and theory on sibling similarities and differences, this study examined the operation and implications of three different influence processes—social learning, shared friends, and sibling differentiation—during adolescence. Participants included one parent and two adolescent siblings (earlier born age: M = 17.17 years, SD = 0.94; later born age: M = 14.52 years, SD = 1.27) from 326 families. Data were collected via telephone interviews. Using reports from both older and younger siblings, two-stage cluster analyses revealed three influence profiles: mutual modeling and shared friends, younger sibling admiration, and differentiation. Additional analyses revealed that mutual modeling and shared friends as well as younger sibling admiration were linked to similarities in brothers’ and sisters’ health-risk behaviors and attitudes, whereas differentiation processes were associated with divergence in siblings’ characteristics. The discussion focuses on refining the study of sibling influence, with particular attention paid to the operation and implications of both convergent and divergent influence processes.


Adolescence Alcohol use Delinquency Modeling Sibling differentiation Siblings Social learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shawn D. Whiteman
    • 1
  • Alexander C. Jensen
    • 1
  • Jennifer L. Maggs
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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