The sibling dyad : a mutual perspective of their relationship Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1n79h863t

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  • Siblings influence each other lifelong and are challenged to accomplish specific developmental tasks of the sibling relationship (Goetting, 1986). Rivalry and closeness are the fundamental themes in this relationship. In adolescence two siblings might give each other emotional support, be confidants, feel close; they might also struggle, fight, and feel rivalrous. Recent research suggests that siblings have slightly different perceptions about their relationship (Daniels et al., 1985). Taking the viewpoints of each sibling together provided the possibility of examining how sibling agreement influenced individual feelings about the relationship. In this study, 78 pairs of undergraduate college students and their nearest-in-age siblings completed questionnaires. Scales about feelings of closeness, rivalry, similarity, competition, and frequency of contact between the siblings as well as information about the sibling structure were included. Under consideration first was whether the sibling structure made a difference in siblings' feelings of closeness and rivalry. Younger siblings were found to. have higher feelings of closeness toward the older sibling than vice versa. Feelings of rivalry were not different between the siblings. Neither age-spacing (less than two years versus more than two years age-space) nor sex-combination (sister-sister; brother-brother; sister-brother) had an impact on sibling rivalry and closeness. The second research question focused on sibling agreement in rivalry and closeness. The sibling pairs were divided into high and low agreement groups. Siblings' individual feelings were compared between these two groups. Strong evidence for older siblings, and a tendency for younger siblings, showed higher feelings of closeness if they were in agreement about rivalry. Younger siblings felt less rivalrous and competitive if the siblings had a shared view about how close their relationship was. If in agreement about closeness, both siblings believed they were more similar to each other than if they did not share their views about closeness. Age-spacing and sex-combination within dyads did not relate to the feelings of rivalry and closeness. Siblings who were in agreement about their feelings had more positive and less negative feelings toward each other.
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  • 1988
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