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Sibling Relationships: Links with Child Temperament, Maternal Behavior, and Family Structure

Clare Stocker, Judy Dunn and Robert Plomin
Child Development
Vol. 60, No. 3 (Jun., 1989), pp. 715-727
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1130737
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130737
Page Count: 13
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Sibling Relationships: Links with Child Temperament, Maternal Behavior, and Family Structure
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Abstract

The extent to which maternal behavior, children's temperament, age, and family structure variables- jointly and independently-are associated with dimensions of sibling relationships is investigated in a sample of 96 families with younger siblings aged 3-6 years and older siblings aged 5-10 years. During home visits, mothers were interviewed and observed with their children in structured and unstructured settings. Together the 4 sets of predictor variables accounted for 22%-40% of the variance in measures of the sibling relationship. Maternal behavior, particularly differences in mothers' behavior to their 2 children, child temperament, and younger siblings' age added independently to the prediction of sibling relationships. Family structure variables were less important in accounting for variance in sibling relationships than were the other groups of predictors. The implications of these findings for understanding differences in siblings' relationships in early and middle childhood are discussed.

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