Sibling relationship quality and psychopathology of children and adolescents: A meta-analysis

Department of Clinical Child and Family Studies, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Electronic address: .
Clinical psychology review (Impact Factor: 7.18). 10/2012; 33(1):97-106. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2012.10.007
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In the current meta-analysis, we investigated the link between child and adolescent sibling relationship quality (warmth, conflict and differential treatment) and internalizing and externalizing problems, and potential moderators of these associations. From 34 studies, we obtained 85 effect sizes, based on 12,257 children and adolescents. Results showed that more sibling warmth, less sibling conflict and less differential treatment were all significantly associated with less internalizing and externalizing problems. Effect sizes for sibling conflict were stronger than for sibling warmth and differential treatment, and associations for internalizing and externalizing problems were similar in strength. Effect sizes were moderated by sibling gender combination (stronger effects for higher percentage brother pairs), age difference between siblings (stronger effects for smaller age differences), and developmental period (stronger effect sizes for children than for adolescents). These results indicate that the sibling context is important when considering psychopathology. In addition to the overwhelming evidence of the impact of parent-child and marital relationships on child and adolescent development, the present meta-analysis is a reminder that the sibling relationship warrants more attention in research as well as in clinical settings.

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Available from: Peter Prinzie, Sep 29, 2015
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    • "Milevsky, 2011; Lukens et al., 2004). A meta-analysis of 34 studies by Buist et al. (2013), for example, concluded that the quality of sibling relationships, e.g. the degree to which the relationship is amicable and warm, and whether siblings perceive they are treated the same or differently by their parents, is associated with the likelihood of subsequent development of internalising disorders (e.g. anxiety or affective disorders) or externalising disorders (e.g. "
    Journal of Mental Health Training 12/2014; 9(4):215-221. DOI:10.1108/JMHTEP-04-2014-0006
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    • "Aggressive and coercive behavior in the sibling relationship may be generalized to other contexts outside the family, for example, resulting in higher levels of aggression toward peers (Stauffacher & DeHart, 2006). Other research has also pointed out that externalizing problems, such as aggression, are more strongly influenced by sibling conflict than sibling warmth (Buist et al., 2013; Ross & Howe, 2009). Following this line of reasoning, children with conflictual and affect-intense sibling relationships could be expected to show elevated levels of aggression compared with children with harmonious and uninvolved sibling relationships . "
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    ABSTRACT: The present study is the first to examine patterns in sibling relationship quality and the associations of these patterns with internalizing and externalizing problem behavior, as well as self-perceived competence, in middle childhood. Self-report questionnaires (e.g., Sibling Relationship Questionnaire, Self-Perception Profile for Children, Youth Self Report) were administered among 1,670 Dutch children (Mage = 11.40 years, SD = .83) attending 51 different Dutch schools. Three sibling relationship clusters were found: a conflictual cluster (low on warmth, high on conflict), an affect-intense cluster (above average on warmth and conflict), and a harmonious cluster (high on warmth, low on conflict). Sister pairs were underrepresented in the conflictual cluster and overrepresented in the harmonious cluster. Children with conflictual sibling relationships reported significantly more internalizing and externalizing problems, and lower academic and social competence and global self-worth, than children with harmonious sibling relationships. Children with affect-intense sibling relationships reported less aggression and better social competence than children with conflictual sibling relationships. Our findings indicate that it is fruitful to combine indices of sibling warmth and conflict to examine sibling relationship types. Relationship types differed significantly concerning internalizing and externalizing problems, but also concerning self-perceived competence. These findings extend our knowledge about sibling relationship types and their impact on different aspects of child adjustment. Whereas harmonious sibling relationships are the most beneficial for adjustment, sibling conflict mainly has a negative effect on adjustment in combination with lack of sibling warmth. Implications and future directions are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved).
    Journal of Family Psychology 05/2014; 28(4). DOI:10.1037/a0036990 · 1.89 Impact Factor
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    • "Evidence that sibling relationships are closely related to mental health and adaptation throughout the entire life has accumulated. A meta-analysis of 34 studies about children and adolescents indicates that more warmth and less conflict in sibling relationships are associated with less internalizing and externalizing problems [17]. According to a longitudinal study conducted over a span of 30 years, poor sibling relationship in childhood was a risk factor for major depressive disorder in adulthood [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The sibling relationship and its potential impact on neurodevelopment and mental health are important areas of neuroscientific research. Validation of the tools assessing the quality of the sibling relationship would be the first essential step for conducting neurobiological and psychosocial studies related to the sibling relationship. However, to the best of our knowledge, no sibling relationship assessment tools have been empirically validated in Korean. We aimed to evaluate the psychometric properties of the Korean version of the Lifespan Sibling Relationship Scale (LSRS), which is one of the most commonly used self-report questionnaires to assess the quality of the sibling relationship. A total of 109 adults completed a series of self-report questionnaires including the LSRS, the mental health subscale of the Medical Outcomes Study-Short Form 36 version 2 (SF36v2), the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SLS), and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (MC-SDS). The internal consistency, subscale intercorrelations, one-week test-retest reliability, convergent validity, divergent validity, and the construct validity were assessed. All six subscale scores and the total score of the LSRS demonstrated good internal consistency (Cronbach's α=0.85-0.94) and good test-retest reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient=0.77-0.92). Correlations of the LSRS with the SF36v2 mental health score (r=0.32, p=0.01) and with the SLS (r=0.27, p=0.04) supported the good convergent validity. The divergent validity was shown by the non-significant correlation of the LSRS with the MC-SDS (r=0.15, p=0.26). Two factors were extracted through factor analysis, which explained 78.63% of the total variance. The three Adult subscales loaded on the first factor and the three Child subscales loaded on the second factor. Results suggest that the Korean version of the LSRS is a reliable and valid tool for examining the sibling relationship.
    12/2013; 22(4):330-6. DOI:10.5607/en.2013.22.4.330
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