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Sibling Coercion & Mental Health among Youth in Foster Care Public Deposited

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  • The purpose of this observational study was to describe the frequency of coercive behavior among siblings in foster care, a diverse population at high risk for mental health impairment. We examined differences in coercion frequency at the level of the individual child (i.e. age & gender), sibling dyad (i.e. age gap, gender composition, & warmth), and foster care placement (i.e. sibling placement, number of prior placements). Finally, we wanted to know if sibling coercion was related to child mental health diagnosis. A series of descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests indicated that there was a wide range of coercion levels among individual children. Sibling coercion frequency did differ by age, with older children displaying lower levels. Coercion also differed by level of sibling warmth; children who perceived more warmth from their sibling displayed a lower frequency of coercion. Coercion levels also differed by sibling placement with siblings living together displaying a higher frequency of coercive interaction than those living apart. The frequency of sibling coercion was not related to mental health diagnosis. Though the experience of child abuse and living in a home with coercive family members may increase a child’s coercive behavior towards a sibling, our findings show that not all children meet this expectation. Careful attention to specific child and sibling dyad needs are critical to design effective interventions, practices, and policies.
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  • Jaramillo, J. (2018, May). Sibling Coercion & Mental Health among Youth in Foster Care. Oregon State University. Committee comprised Dr. Mary Arnold, Dr. Lew Bank, Dr. Karen Elliott, Dr. Brianne Kothari (Chair).
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