Life stress, sibling relationship qualities, and youth adjustment

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Evelyn C. Blane (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lilly Shanahan

Abstract: The experience of multiple life stressors is associated with high levels of internalizing and externalizing symptoms in children and adolescents. A risk and resilience perspective suggests that sibling warmth can act as a protective-stabilizing factor, and, conversely, that sibling conflict can act as a vulnerable-reactive factor during life stress, and the present study examined whether sibling relationship qualities moderated the link between life stress and maladjustment in a sample of 210 children aged 9-18 (M =11.50 years old, SD= 2.12) from 105 families. This study also took into account the match between the type of stressor experienced (family-wide, personal, and sibling stress), and the type of protective and vulnerability effects that sibling relationship qualities can provide. Children reported on life stress, sibling warmth, conflict, and internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Mothers reported on their negative life events and each child's internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Multiple regression models were used to examine interrelations among sibling relationships qualities, life stress, and sex in the prediction of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Results indicated that sibling warmth was a protective-stabilizing factor in the prediction of internalizing symptoms during family-wide, but not during personal and sibling stress. Sibling conflict was a vulnerable-reactive factor in the prediction of externalizing symptoms during family-wide, but not during personal and sibling stress. Results highlight the importance of contextualizing protective and vulnerability effects of sibling relationships by taking into account domains of life stress.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
Adolescence, Life Stress, Middle Childhood, Stress Domains
Brothers and sisters $x Family relationships.
Brothers and sisters $x Psychological aspects.
Sibling rivalry.
Stress in adolescence.
Stress in children.

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