Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 133–147

Perceived Sibling Relationships and Adolescent Development



Utilizing longitudinal, 3-wave data collected from multiple informants (fathers, mothers, and target children) in 374 families, the potential effects of sibling relationships on adolescent development across early and middle adolescence were investigated. Adolescents who perceived their sibling relationships more positively at Time 1 tended to have better friendships and higher self-esteem at Time 2, which, in turn, were associated with less loneliness, less depression, and fewer delinquent behaviors and less substance use at Time 3. Moreover, a bidirectional relationship was found between adolescent self-esteem and the quality of their sibling relationships, suggesting that a more positive sibling relationship helps to enhance adolescent self-esteem, and that higher adolescent self-esteem predicts a more positive sibling relationship. A bidirectional relationship was also found between adolescent sibling relationships and adolescent friendships. However, a much stronger association between adolescent sibling relationships at Time 1 and adolescent friendships at Time 2, than between adolescent friendships at Time 1 and adolescent sibling relationships at Time 2, may suggest that the quality of an earlier sibling relationship is more predictive of the quality of a later friendship for adolescents rather than the other way around.

adolescent development longitudinal, perceived sibling relationships structural equation modeling 


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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Social and Behavioral ResearchIowa State UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Iowa State UniversityUSA

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