The Effects of Age & Gender

on Perceived Quality of the

Sibling Relationship







 

   Molly R. Gray

     Saint Anselm College, 2001

 
  Acknowledgements  Results
 Abstract
 Discussion
 Introduction
 Appendices
 Method
 References

 

Acknowledgements

     First and foremost, my family needs to be recognized as the single most important and influential source of support in my life.  I brag about you all the time!  Mom and Dad, you were constantly there, both physically and in spirit, to calm me down, encourage me, and remind me that the most important thing is that I actually learn something from this whole process, which I certainly did!  Thank you for being the most supportive and inspirational individuals I know.  And, of course, a huge thank you to my big sisters, my "peach-buds", Amy and Sarah, who constantly listened to my ranting and raving, despite all of the hard work that was being demanded of them by their graduate schools during that time.  Thanks to you both for being wonderful role modelsand for making me laugh no matter what! 
      I would also like to thank the faculty in the psychology department, especially Professor Ossoff and Professor McKenna.  Thank you Professor Ossoff for keeping us sane and organized, especially with all of the deadlines (they seemed like a nightmare at the beginning, but proved to be an amazing help).  You know what youíre doing, how to do it, and how to get students to do it, and I highly respect you as a professor and as an individual.  Thank you Professor McKenna for helping me out, while on sabbatical, in finding older participants for my study and for answering my many emails!
      Finally, I would like to thank my fellow classmates.  I am proud to be among the psychology majors here at Saint Anselmís, for everyone supports one another, listens, and encourages.  Two semesters ago we never thought it possible, but guess what?  We did it!!! 

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Abstract

     This study was an attempt to further the research regarding the effects of age and gender on the quality of sibling relationships.  In terms of age, a review of the literature suggests that siblings experience greater overall quality in their relationships as each sibling matures, partly due to various life events and changing needs.  Therefore, it was hypothesized that perceived quality of the sibling relationship would increase from early to middle to late adulthood.  Gender has also been suggested to play a role in the nature of the relationship siblings share.  Overall, females have been shown to exhibit more warm characteristics, such as emotional expression, nurturing behavior, and affection.  Therefore, it was hypothesized that sister-sister relationships would exhibit the highest quality, followed by the brother-sister, then brother-brother relationship. 
     This study was a 3(early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood) X 3(brother-brother, brother-sister, sister-sister) between-subjects design.  Thirty-five participants were randomly selected: 13 in the early adulthood group, 13 in middle adulthood , and the remaining 9 in the late adulthood group.  The independent variables were age and gender.  The dependent variable was the score received on the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (ASRQ, Stocker, Lanthier, & Furman, 1997).  Quality of the sibling relationship was measured on the subscales of Warmth, Conflict, and Rivalry, with greatest quality marked by increased warmth and decreased conflict and rivalry.
     Analyses of variance were used to analyze the data, revealing differences in quality of relationship for each age group.  Specifically, warmth tended to decrease into middle adulthood, then increased into late adulthood, while both conflict and rivalry decreased from early to middle to late adulthood.  Frequency of experience of major life transitions was assessed and used as possible support for the results.
     The decrease with age in conflict and rivalry in the sibling relationship is consistent with the existing literature and suggests that quality of relationship increases into late adulthood.  The results failed to confirm the increase in warmth with age, as well as the differences in relationship quality based on gender dyad and the interaction between age and gender.  Warmth decreased in middle adulthood and increased into late adulthood and no effects of gender were found on relationship quality.  Knowledge of the changes that sibling relationships undergo provides greater understanding of the role that siblings may play in each otherís lives as people age and future research topics are also discussed. 

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Key Terms: sibling, brother, sister, age, gender, early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood, warmth, conflict, rivalry

Instrument: Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (Stocker, Lanthier, & Furman, 1997)
 


Introduction

The Effects of Age and Gender on Perceived Quality of the Sibling Relationship

     The relationship that any two siblings share is a unique one.  It is one of the most interesting to study because it is typically the longest relationship one will have, beginning at birth and lasting a lifetime, longer than husband-wife or parent-child relationships (Dunn, 1996).  It is a sharing of both biological and cultural history, along with many memories.  It is also one of the most seldom studied (Bedford, 1996).  Recent research has examined the sibling relationship and how that tie may undergo changes over time, particularly by certain key life transitions (Bedford, 1996; Cicirelli, 1996; Connidis, 1992; Moyer, 1992).  Among many variables, research has also investigated the effects of the gender combination of the sibling relationship, that is, whether there is a difference in certain aspects of the brother-brother, brother-sister, and sister-sister siblingships (Bedford, 1996; Cicirelli, 1996; Gold, 1989a; Stocker, Lanthier, & Furman, 1997).  This study focuses on three generations of individuals (early, middle, and late adulthood) and examines the impact of age and gender on the perceived overall quality of the sibling relationship. 
     Due to the greater number of half-, step-, and adoptive siblings that exist today (Bedford & Avioli, 1996), defining the word sibling has become increasingly complex.  In the interest of time and participant availability, the present study focuses on the full sibling relationship in the adult population.  According to Cicirelli (1996), full siblings are those who have both biological parents in common.  In terms of the relationship between full siblings, it is all interactions experienced, as well as their knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, and feelings about one another (Cicirelli, 1996), not considering the issue of physical contact between the two siblings. 
     Contact has been a recurring issue in the study of sibling relationships (Bedford, 1996; Cicirelli, 1996).  The question arises as to whether or not increased physical contact, meaning the time spent in face-to-face interactions, also increases the emotional closeness between siblings.  It is surprising, however, that decreased frequency of contact has been shown to be a poor reason for a lack of closeness.  It is in fact the perceived emotional availability of a sibling and not the actual physical contact that affects closeness.  In his study on sibling relationships in old age, Gold (1989b) found that interest in the activities of brothers and sisters tended to continue with age, even in the absence of contact.  A lack of contact may decrease face-to-face interaction, but other forms of communication such as letters, telephone calls, or communicating through a third person (Cicirelli, 1996) can contribute to the maintenance of the closeness siblings may share (Bedford, 1996). 
     It is inferred from Bedfordís (1996) findings, along with Cicirelliís (1996) definition of a full sibling, that it is possible for siblings to continue to thrive in their relationship and maintain emotional closeness, even while the siblings are separated by distance and a lack of ongoing face-to-face interaction.  It can be concluded that closeness and quality of relationship cannot be measured accurately solely by the amount of contact.  Therefore, in this study, perceived quality of the sibling relationship is not assessed by frequency of physical contact alone, but rather by various qualitative features of the sibling relationship.

Importance of Age in the Sibling Relationship
     Sibling ties are intensified as adults experience key transitions and important life events, suggesting that there exists ongoing growth and development of the sibling relationship throughout the life course for many adults (Connidis, 1992).  In early and middle adulthood, these events may include marriage, the birth of children, and care for elderly parents.  In late adulthood, the focus is on the resolution of sibling rivalry and the increased need for support in the face of social loss (Bedford, 1996).  The feeling of obligation toward siblings is more frequent in the adult years, which leads to increased contact motivation (Bedford, 1996).  Following negative events, siblings typically become closer as the result of acting as a support system for one another (Dunn, 1996).  In summary, people seem to narrow their range of social interaction as they age, but in terms of the more significant relationships in their lives, interaction appears to increase (Carstensen, 1992).  Adult siblings do maintain contact, communicate, and share experiences well into late adulthood (Cicirelli, 1996), but the nature of that interaction varies with different ages.  This study examines whether or not the sibling relationship strengthens or weakens over time and if so, in what particular manner. 
     In consideration of the changes that may occur over time in sibling relationships, Connidis (1992) asked the following questions: Are ties between siblings altered by various life events?  Does the sibling relationship change over time?  Does the structure of the sibling relationship affect the sibling bond?  Various life events happen not just to individuals, but to the entire family unit, Connidis concluded.  The question was raised as to whether or not ties between siblings are altered by various life events and transitions; that is, if relationships do in fact change over time.  Of particular interest were the effects of marriage, childbirth, divorce, widowhood, and illness/death. 
     Connidis hypothesized that although marriage would result in decreased emotional closeness, or friendly and affectionate behavior, between siblings, childbirth, divorce, widowhood, and illness/death would increase closeness.  Data was collected by means of a semi-structured interview of two samples of 30 adult sibling dyads (120 participants).  Background information was collected first, followed by tape-recorded open-ended interview questions beginning with life history questions.  The participants were then asked to describe their relationship with their sibling following each of the life transitions in question as experienced by either the respondent or the sibling being reported on. 
     The results supported the hypothesis presented.  The least amount of closeness was found immediately following marriage, but siblings appeared to draw closer after this event as time progressed.  Much of this strengthening of sibling ties was attributed to the greater need for a support system during the other life events mentioned (e.g., childbirth).  Thus it was concluded that it is not the ages of siblings, but rather the transitions, along with heightened significance of siblings, that seem to account for the changes in sibling relationships (Connidis, 1992).  In this respect, the current study expects that participant responses will reflect a change over time in the sibling relationship.
     Beginning with the early adulthood years, upon introduction of career-building and marriage, it has been found that the relationship between siblings tends to weaken.  Most researchers agree that the early adulthood years begin at age 18 and continue on until about age 35 (Carstensen, 1992; Connidis, 1994; Gold, 1989b).  Fewer topics are discussed with one another and there is less direct contact during these years, resulting in decreased emotional closeness (Bedford, 1996; Connidis, 1992) and a decline in involvement.  Cicirelli (1996) found that this weakening, largely contained in the event of marriage, was the result of either one siblingís disapproval of the other siblingís choice of spouse or of a general disruption in the formerly close sibling relationship.  Other researchers have found that newly married siblings may tend to move away from their other siblings in an attempt to integrate the habits and customs of their own family with those of a new spouse (Schavaneveldt & Ihinger, 1979).
     In researching the nature of sibling involvement among married and unmarried siblings, Connidis (1994), hypothesized that unmarried siblings would be more likely to receive instrumental support from siblings than those who were married would.  Results from the study indicated that married participants received significantly less sibling support than those who were single did.  In addition, both divorced and widowed participants received a greater amount of support from their siblings than did married participants.  These findings indicate that siblings can serve a unique role in the lives of those without a spouse.  Single, divorced, and widowed individuals are often seen as more available to other siblings and appear to have a tendency to maintain more active ties with their siblings. 
     During middle adulthood, typically ages 36 to 65 (Carstensen, 1992; Connidis, 1994; Gold, 1989b), childbirth, divorce, and the need to care for aging parents all arise.  This has been suggested as a source of conflict for siblings, but may also bring them closer (Bedford, 1996).  Siblings can act as a support system to help deal with the fears and stress that accompany the birth of a new child, the end of a marriage, and the caring for a parent (Moyer, 1992).  For example, when one sibling gives birth to a new child, it has been found that they tend to rely on advice from their own family.  This asking for advice reintroduces old customs and habits that are more familiar to the sibling than to the spouse, making the connection to siblings increasingly important and apparent (Connidis, 1992).  It is during this time period, as well, that the feeling of obligation and responsibility for one another as siblings tends to increase the motivation to remain close to one another (Lee & Mancini, 1990), as is often the case when a new aunt or uncle finds responsibility with their new niece or nephew (Connidis, 1992). 
     It is during late adulthood, age 66 and over (Carstensen, 1992; Connidis, 1994; Gold 1989b), that siblings are undoubtedly of great importance (Dunn, 1996).  Intensity of the siblingship resumes after demands of career and children diminish and solidarity between siblings becomes even stronger than with parents (Bedford, 1996).  Siblings provide a sense of emotional support during such life events as loss of a parent or sibling (Moyer, 1992), loss of a spouse or lack of a marriage (Bedford, 1996), and illness or increased dependency needs (Cicirelli, 1989).  Elderly siblings are searching for companionship, emotional support, and the resolution of old rivalries (Bedford, 1996) and certain lifelong issues that remain unresolved between siblings can interfere with the strengthening of their relationship (Moyer, 1992).  Sharing memories and recounting old stories has been found to help in the resolution of conflict and rivalry (Gold, 1989b) and typically old rivalries are forgiven and/or forgotten, paving the way for a closer relationship (Cicirelli, 1996; Leder, 1993).  The need to feel a sense of support and companionship thus makes rivalry resolution very important to many older individuals.
     In summary, key life transitions play a role in early adulthood sibling relationships, which are marked by increased separation and decreased overall quality.  In terms of individuals in their middle and late adulthood years, there seems to be an increasing degree of quality in sibling relationships that is greatly related to an enhanced need for sibling support. 
     Warmth between two individuals stems greatly from the formation of an intimate relationship, while conflict tends to arise in the absence of such a connection.  It appears that major life events play a role in the formation of both of these types of bonds (Stoneman & Brody, 1993).  In line with the research mentioned, this study expects to find a decreased amount of emotional closeness, support, and warmth in the early adulthood sibling relationships and increased existence of conflict and rivalry.  As each sibling ages and experiences new events in life, it is anticipated that the feeling of responsibility and the need for support will yield greater warmth, less conflict and rivalry, resulting in higher quality siblingships. 

Importance of Gender in the Sibling Relationship
     Gender is another characteristic that has been noted to influence the quality of sibling relationships, though gender differences have been shown to decrease with age (Bedford, 1996).  Emotional intimacy, often described as devotion and psychological closeness, tends to increase from brother-brother to brother-sister to sister-sister relationships, such that sister-sister relationships demonstrate the greatest emotional closeness.  In a study on the structure of sibling relationships, Gold (1989b) found that sibling dyads that included a woman, either sister-sister or sister-brother pairs, yielded more positive characteristics, such as intimacy, warmth, and loyalty.  Those dyads that did not include a female member exhibited less involvement, less warmth, and greater hostility and conflict.  Thus it was concluded that there exists a connection between higher quality relationships and females and that cross-sex sibling relationships tend to resemble that of sisters more than brothers. 
     Therefore, in the present study, gender is examined to determine whether or not it has an affect on the quality of the relationship between two siblings.  The entire gender makeup of the dyad, rather than the gender of the respondent, is analyzed for more accurate information regarding the influence of gender on the siblingship. 
     Cultural norms that have been established regarding traditional gender roles must also be considered when investigating the influence of gender on sibling relationships.  Gold (1989a) concluded that sisters give and receive more help and that lack of help is more likely when there is brother involved.  Females tend to exhibit more nurturing behavior, empathy (Bedford, 1996), and emotional expression (Cicirelli, 1996).  In addition, it is the female sibling who often has more interest and motivation to initiate and maintain family relationships (Cicirelli, 1996). Sisters tend to be more affectionate than brothers, especially beginning with adolescence (Dunn, 1996), and sisters are more likely to engage in relationships that involve self-disclosure than are brothers (Gold, 1989a).  Such traits as sympathetic, protective, warm, and giving have been associated more often with the sister, regardless of whether it is a sister-sister or sister-brother relationship. (Rosenberg, 1982). 
     In summary, sisters tend to exhibit greater amounts of warmth (Stocker et al., 1997), affection (Dunn, 1996), and support for their siblings (Connidis, 1994; Gold, 1989a) than do brothers.  In examination of gender influences on the quality of the siblingship, this study hypothesizes that the sister-sister bond yields the highest quality of relationship.  Then, because it resembles the sister-sister dyad (Gold, 1989b), the sister-brother relationship is predicted to exhibit the next highest degree of quality, followed by the brother-brother dyad.

The Current Study
     Several inconsistencies in the literature on sibling relationships exist in the areas of age and gender.  Whether it is certain major life transitions (Connidis, 1992) or a developmental change as a result of age that affects the quality of the sibling relationship is still being investigated.  In addition, whether higher rates of conflict are found in sister-sister siblingships (Stocker et al., 1997) or in brother-brother pairs (Gold, 1989a) remains under examination. 
     This current study examines the roles that age and gender play in the full-sibling relationship.  Patterns of perceived overall quality of the sibling relationship are investigated across three generations: early, middle, and late adulthood.  In addition, the effects of gender makeup on sibling relationship quality, as well as the interaction between sibling gender dyads and age is examined.  Sibling relationship quality is measured by the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (ASRQ, Stocker et al., 1997) across three subscales: Warmth, Conflict, and Rivalry.  Scores for the three subscales for each age group (early, middle and late adulthood) and gender dyad (brother-brother, brother-sister, and sister-sister) are examined to answer the questions regarding how sibling relationship quality may differ according to age and gender of the sibling dyad.  Specifically, the existence of high levels of warmth and low levels of conflict and rivalry are indicative of a higher quality of sibling relationship.  Accordingly, low levels of warmth and high levels of conflict and rivalry are exhibited in lower quality relationships.
     The first hypothesis of this study is that perceived overall quality of the sibling relationship will increase steadily from early to middle to late adulthood, such that young adult siblings will experience the least amount of quality in sibling relationships and the late adulthood generation will yield the greatest amount of quality.  Life events have an impact on the state of the sibling relationship (Bedford, 1996).  As Connidis (1992) found, sibling relationships decrease in amount of emotional closeness following the marriage of one or both siblings, supporting the hypothesis of a lesser degree of quality in the relationship during the early adulthood years when marriage and career-building will most likely occur. 
     Siblings can act as support systems in dealing with fears and stress related to negative events in life such as divorce or the need to care for aging parents (Moyer, 1992), which are events that tend to happen during the middle adulthood years.  This sibling support is a main contributor to sibling intimacy and may enhance the sibling relationship, as hypothesized.  As the sibling relationship matures into the late adulthood years, the expectation of even greater psychological closeness and sibling importance than in the middle adulthood years is anticipated, based upon Bedfordís (1996) findings that the elderly, in the face of illness, death, and social loss, are searching for more emotional support and companionship. 
     The second hypothesis of this study is that sister-sister relationships have a greater quality of relationship, followed by sister-brother and then brother-brother pairs.  It has been shown that females typically exhibit more helping behavior (Gold, 1989a), nurturing (Bedford, 1996), emotional expression (Cicirelli, 1996), and affection (Dunn, 1996) than do males.  These traits may contribute to heightened intimacy and quality of sibling relationship, thereby yielding a relationship of higher quality with the presence of a sister.  In addition, as Gold (1989a) suggested, cross-sex siblings resemble sister-sister pairs more than brother-brother pairs, further adding to the hypothesized order of sibling combinations in regard to sibling relationship quality.
     Also of interest is the possible interaction between the variables of age and gender.  Given that gender may play a role in some of the life events explored in the age research, some potential interaction may occur for some issues explored in the ASRQ (Stocker et al., 1997).  However, given the exploratory nature of this issue, no specific predictions are made.

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Method

Participants
     This study consisted of 35 randomly selected participants: 16 individuals (5 males, 11 females) between the ages of 18 and 35 (early adulthood), 11 individuals (4 males, 7 females) between ages 36 and 65 (middle adulthood), and the remaining 8 individuals (2 males, 6 females) of ages 66 and over (late adulthood).  A portion of the young adulthood subjects came from the subject pool of introductory psychology students at a small liberal arts Catholic college in New England who participated for course credit.  The remaining participants of the early and middle adulthood groups volunteered and came from the faculty and administration of the same college.  Late adulthood participants volunteered from a senior center in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Design
     This study utilized a 3(early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood) X 3(brother-brother, brother-sister, sister-sister) between-subjects design and measured the pattern of overall sibling relationship quality across three generations.   Sibling, in this study, referred to full-siblings, who share common parents and biological backgrounds.  For the first hypothesis, the independent variable was the age group of the participant and included three levels: age 18-35 for early adulthood, 36-65 for middle adulthood, and 66 and over for late adulthood.  Age referred to how many years the participant had been alive.  The dependent variable was the overall quality of the sibling relationship.  This was determined by the respondentís scores received on the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire in the areas of Warmth, Conflict, and Rivalry (ASRQ, Stocker, Lanthier, & Furman, 1997). 
     For the second hypothesis, the independent variable was gender combination and included three levels: brother-brother, brother-sister, and sister-sister.  Gender combination was the particular pair of genders in the sibling relationship that was being examined.  The dependent variable was the overall quality of the sibling relationship also determined by the scores received for Warmth, Conflict, and Rivalry on the ASRQ (Stocker et al., 1997). 

Materials
     An instrument developed by this researcher was used to collect demographic information.  Items on this measure assessed age and gender of both participant and the chosen sibling for relationship question responses and also included various questions regarding marriage, childbirth, divorce, widowhood, and caregiving (see Appendix A).
The measure used for adult sibling relationship quality was the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (ASRQ, Stocker et al., 1997).  This 81-item instrument evaluates the respondentís perception of their own behavior and feelings toward their chosen sibling, as well as their perception of the siblingís behavior and feelings toward them.  Instructions ask the participant to refer to ONE sibling and to answer each question thoughtfully according to the relationship with that sibling as it is now, not how it was in the past or might be in the future. 
     The 81 items are spread over 14 scales: Intimacy, Affection, Knowledge, Acceptance, Similarity, Admiration, Emotional Support, Instrumental Support, Dominance, Competition, Antagonism, Quarreling, Maternal Rivalry, and Paternal Rivalry.  These scales are combined into 3 higher-order factors: Warmth, Conflict, and Rivalry.  Examples of statements include "How much do you talk to this sibling about things that are important to you?", "How much do you know about this sibling?, and "How much do you let this sibling know you care about him or her?" (Stocker et al., pp. 220-221, 1997).  Answers are given using Likert scales ranging from 1 (hardly at all) to 5 (extremely much) (see Appendix B for further examples).
     High levels of internal consistency have been found for all scales of the ASRQ.  Participant scores were stable across a 2-week period, as shown by the test-retest correlations which were both high and statistically reliable.  In addition, convergent validity was shown by the considerable agreement between the reports of the participant and the chosen sibling (Stocker et al., 1997).
     In addition to the ASRQ, a set of instructions was used to explain how to answer the given questions.  In the instructions, participants were told of certain background questions that were presented and were then asked to choose one sibling on whom they felt they could report in greatest depth.  The instructions also asked that the participant report on how the relationship is in the present, not how it was or could be in the future (see Appendix C). 
     A debriefing form entitled "A Note To Participants" was also used.  It referred to the aim of the study, what exactly was analyzed, reassurance of the inability to receive a "poor" score, and a plea to the participant to refrain from discussing the study with anyone until after November 21, 2000 (see Appendix D). 

Procedure
     How the investigator and the participants came into contact varied according to the different age groups of participants.  Those participants from the psychology department research subject pool came directly to a testing room in the department.  Instructions were then handed out and read aloud, asking the participants to read everything carefully, follow the directions on the instruments and complete the surveys accordingly.  Participants were then permitted to ask questions regarding the procedure and, following this, signed a consent form (see Appendix E) and completed the questionnaire.  They were given as much time as needed to complete the task.  Once all the participants had completed the questionnaire, a debriefing form was handed out to conclude the session and fully inform the participants of the study performed.  Any questions they had were addressed and participants were thanked for their participation. 
     The investigator then sought out the remaining participants of the early, middle, and late adulthood generations.  For the early and middle adulthood groups, the questionnaires were sent via college mailboxes to a number of faculty and administration in attempt to gather more participants for the early and middle adulthood generations.  Included in the mailed package was a consent form, set of instructions, the questionnaire itself, and the debriefing form.  Participants who actually filled out the questionnaires were asked to send them back upon completion to the investigator.  In administering the questionnaire to the late adulthood group, a similar procedure as with the psychology department research subject pool was conducted, but took place at the senior center and involved asking the questions aloud to some participants. 

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Results

     A 3(early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood) X 3(brother-brother, brother-sister, sister-sister) univariate analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the effects of age and gender combination on perceived overall quality of the sibling relationship.  The dependent variable of perceived overall quality of the sibling relationship was broken down into three subscales: Warmth, Conflict, and Rivalry.

ANOVAs
     Separate 3(early adulthood, middle adulthood, late adulthood) X 3(brother-brother, brother-sister, sister-sister) analyses of variance were conducted for each of the subscales of the sibling relationship questionnaire.

     Warmth.  The ANOVA for the amount of warmth did not reveal a significant main effect for age group or gender combination, nor was an interaction found between the two.  However, amount of warmth when compared on age group was approaching significance, F(2,26)=2.86, p <- .10.  The means did not lie in the predicted direction, but in fact indicated that warmth between siblings tended to decrease from early to middle adulthood, then increased into late adulthood (see table 1). 

Table 1
 Mean amount of warmth found in sibling relationships in early, middle, and late adulthood

Age Group                     M              SD          N

Early Adulthood           3.58           0.52          16

Middle Adulthood        2.96           0 .74         11 

Late Adulthood            3.46           0.37           8
Note.  Larger numbers indicate greater amount of warmth.
 

     In terms of gender combination, the means were in the predicted direction, with the brother-brother dyad (M = 3.10, SD = 0.49) exhibiting the least amount of warmth, followed by the brother-sister dyad (M = 3.36, SD = 0.66), then sister-sister dyad (M = 3.47, SD = 0.64).

     Conflict. The ANOVA for amount of conflict revealed a main effect, F(2,26)=8.18, p < .01 for age group.  The means were in the predicted direction, that is, amount of conflict decreased from early to middle to late adulthood, such that early adulthood yielded the greatest amount of conflict among siblings while late adulthood yielded the least.  In examining the post hoc pairwise comparisons, it appears that the amount of conflict is significantly different in the shift from early adulthood into middle adulthood (see table 2).

Table 2
Mean amount of conflict found in sibling relationships in early, middle, and late adulthood

Age Group                    M              SD           N

Early Adulthood           2.28           0.81          16

Middle Adulthood        1.49           0.35          11

Late Adulthood            1.32           0.31           8
Note.  Larger numbers indicate greater amount of conflict.

     Contrary to the predictions made, the ANOVA did not show a main effect for gender combination, nor did it find an interaction between age and gender combination.  The means for gender combination, however, did lie in the predicted direction, with the brother-brother dyad exhibiting the greatest amount of conflict (M = 2.32, SD = 0.99), followed by the brother-sister (M =) and sister-sister (M = 1.60, SD = 0.70) dyads.

     Rivalry.  The results of the ANOVA for amount of rivalry were statistically significant for age group, F(2,26)=3.88, p -< .05.  The means were in the predicted direction, indicating that rivalry decreased from early to middle to late adulthood.  This is consistent with the hypothesis.  In reviewing the post hoc pairwise comparisons, the amount of rivalry for the middle adulthood group is significantly different from those in late adulthood (see table 3). 

Table 3
Mean amount of rivalry found in sibling relationships in early, middle, and late adulthood

Age Group                    M             SD             N

Early Adulthood           0.57           0.44           16

Middle Adulthood        0.46           0.43           11

Late Adulthood           2.09E-02    5.90E-02   8
Note.  Larger numbers indicate greater amount of rivalry.

     The ANOVA did not reveal statistical significance for gender combination, nor did it find an interaction between age and gender combination. 

Frequencies
     The frequencies for the experience of such major life events as marriage, divorce, childbirth, being widowed, and caring for a parent were calculated for each of the three age groups.  This was done in an attempt to examine certain factors of the participantís lives that may help explain why the sibling relationship tends to show changes with age.

     Marriage.  The results indicate that 12.5% of those participants in early adulthood are or have been married.  100% of both the middle adulthood and late adulthood groups are or have been married (see table 4).
 

     Divorce.  In the early adulthood group, 6.3% of the participants had experienced divorce.  Of the middle adulthood participants, 27.3% had been divorced at some point in  their lives, while none of the participants in the late adulthood group had ever experienced divorce at all (see table 4).

     Childbirth.  Only 12.5% of the early adulthood participants had given birth to at least one child while 81.8% of the middle adulthood population had experienced the birth of a child.  Of the late adulthood group, 87.5% had experienced childbirth at some point in their lives (see table 4).

     Widowed.  Not a single participant in the early adulthood group had been widowed at any point during their lives.  Of the middle adulthood participants, 9.1% had been widowed during their lifetime and 37.5% of the late adulthood population had experienced the death of a spouse (see table 4).

     Caregiving.  No participants in the early adulthood group had ever cared for an aged parent, while 18.2% of the middle adulthood group had taken on the role of caregiver.  Of the late adulthood population, 62.5% of the participants had experienced caring for a parent (see table 4).

Table 4
Frequency of experience of major life events for early, middle, and late adulthood participants

Age Group              Marriage          Divorce        Childbirth           Widowed          Caregiving

Early Adulthood         12.5%                6.3%             12.5%                      0%                          0%

Middle Adulthood       100%               27.3%            81.8%                  9.1%                     18.2%

Late Adulthood           100%                     0%            87.5%                37.5%                    62.5%
Note.  Percentages represent those participants who haveexperienced the major life events 
 
 

     In comparing age group percentages of those participants who have experienced each of the major life events, it is evident that a considerably greater percentage of individuals in both the middle and late adulthood had experienced marriage and childbirth as compared to those in early adulthood.  No participants in late adulthood had ever experienced divorce, but a much greater number in this group had experienced losing a spouse, and caring for a parent. 

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Discussion

     The aim of this study was to determine if age and gender have an effect on the perceived quality of the sibling relationship.  The results of this research indicate that, with age, significant changes occur in the quality of the dyad sibling relationship, while the exact effects of the gender composition of that dyad are unclear.  Possible effects of age-related life transitions, such as marriage and childbirth, were also examined.
      The hypothesis of this study postulated that as age increased, quality of the sibling relationship would increase as well, exhibiting greater warmth and a decrease in both conflict and rivalry.  This prediction took into account Connidisí (1992) findings that certain major life events have an impact on the strength and emotional closeness of the relationship shared by two siblings.  Thus it was hypothesized that as individuals experienced a greater number of life transitions, the quality of the sibling relationship would heighten as well. 
     The second hypothesis of this study predicted that sister-sister dyads would be characterized by a greater quality of relationship, that is, greater warmth and less conflict and rivalry.  Based on findings that females tend to exhibit greater affection, emotional expression, and more nurturing behavior (Bedford, 1996; Cicirelli, 1996; Dunn, 1996), it was postulated that sibling dyads that consisted of at least one female would have a greater relationship quality than dyads with no female at all.  Thus, sister-sister pairs would exhibit the greatest quality, followed by sister-brother, then brother-brother pairs. 
    The possible interaction between the age and gender variables was also a point of interest in this study, based on suggestions that gender may play a role in responding to certain key life events (Bedford, 1996; Connidis, 1992; Gold, 1989a).  Given the exploratory nature of this issue, no specific predictions were made.
     Frequency data was collected and a series of univariate analyses of variance was conducted to evaluate the three hypotheses presented in this study.  Regarding amount of warmth in the sibling relationship, no significant differences were found for age group, yet the means were approaching significance.  In examining the data, warmth tended to decrease from early to middle adulthood, then increased into late adulthood.  These changes do not follow the predicted direction, but are in line with Connidisí (1992) and Cicirelliís (1996) findings that the least amount of emotional closeness and strength of relationship tends to be found immediately following marriage.  Only 12.5% of those in the early adulthood group had experienced marriage, while 100% of those in the middle adulthood group were or at one time had been married.  This could explain why more warmth was found in the early adulthood group, if fewer of those participants had experienced marriage. 
     Bedford (1996) said that childbirth, divorce, and caregiving have been shown to strengthen the relationship, but these events have also been suggested as a source of difficulty.  This may help to explain the decrease in warmth into middle adulthood since the greatest number of individuals who experienced these events fell into the middle adulthood category.  The increase in amount of warmth found between siblings in late adulthood is consistent with the literature, which states that older people tend to feel a greater need for support and solidarity with family members (Moyer, 1992; Bedford, 1996), often as a result of increased dependency needs (Cicirelli, 1989).  The need for support from and connection with siblings may stem from the fact that 37.5% of those in the late adulthood group experienced the loss of a spouse and 62.5% had to care for a parent at one point during their lives.
     No significant differences in warmth were found across the three gender dyads, brother-brother (BB), brother-sister (BS), and sister-sister (SS), however the means did lie in the predicted direction.  In line with the hypothesis that quality of relationship would increase from BB pairs to BS pairs to SS pairs, the least amount of warmth in the sibling relationship was found between two brothers, while the greatest amount of warmth characterized the SS relationship.  This is also consistent with previous research that maintains that the sister exhibits the most nurturing behavior and emotional expression (Bedford, 1996; Cicirelli, 1996).
     Significant differences in the amount of conflict between siblings were found by age group.  As predicted, conflict decreased as age increased, such that individuals in the early adulthood group experienced the greatest amount of conflict in their sibling relationships, while those in the late adulthood group experienced the least.  As found in the literature, as people age, their need for emotional support, solidarity, and companionship increases (Bedford, 1996; Moyer, 1992), which may explain why older participants felt that their relationships with their siblings were not as characterized by conflict as the younger participantsí sibling relationships were. 
     In examining the means, it appears that the most significant decrease in amount of conflict occurred with the shift from early into middle adulthood.  Interestingly, the least amount of warmth was also found in middle adulthood.  The decrease in both warmth and conflict during the middle age years may be explained by the fact that more individuals in the middle adulthood range than the early adulthood range experienced marriage, causing the decrease in warmth, but such events as childbirth, divorce, and caregiving, which intensifies the need for the sibling as a support system were also experienced more in the middle age years, which may lessen the degree of conflict that is present.  These findings, however, need to be investigated more deeply to address the interaction between warmth and conflict, as well as the possibility for the two to coexist. 
     The continued decrease in the amount of conflict into late adulthood can be explained by the greater percentage of those participants who experienced caregiving (62.5%) and the loss of a spouse (37.5%) and would therefore need greater support from their sibling.  The insignificance in this decrease may be accounted for by the lack of experience of divorce in the late adulthood group.  As found in the results, none of the participants in late adulthood had ever experienced divorce, while 27.3% of the middle aged participants had experienced divorce.  Therefore, without the experience of this major life transition in late adulthood, there may have been less of a need for support from siblings, which may, in turn, have led to less of a decrease in the amount of conflict in the late adulthood siblingships, as compared to those in middle adulthood.
     No significant differences were found in the amount of conflict across the three gender dyads, yet the means did lie in the predicted direction.  The BB pairs reported the greatest amount of conflict in their relationships, while SS relationships yielded the least amount of conflict.  This is consistent with the literature which states that sisters tend to be more warm and giving (Rosenburg, 1982) and are more motivated to strengthen and maintain family relationships (Cicirelli, 1996). 
     Along with conflict, rivalry was also examined across the three age groups and three gender combinations.  The results of this study showed a significant difference in amount of rivalry for age group.  As was hypothesized, rivalry decreased as age increased, indicating that the early adulthood participants reported the greatest amounts of rivalry while the late adulthood participants reported the least.  As the age of participants in this study increased, the number of life events experienced increased as well, thus prompting the need for greater support from siblings as time progressed, but also creating the opportunity for less warmth and more conflict.  As Bedford (1996) found, the resolution of old rivalries is crucial in the late adulthood years, which may explain why the most significant decrease in rivalry was found in the shift from middle into late adulthood.  As found in the literature, old rivalries are typically forgiven or forgotten in the later years (Cicirelli, 1996; Leder, 1993).  The search for companionship among older adults is prevalent and tends to override any sense of rivalry between the two siblings (Bedford, 1996).  Naturally, in this study, less middle adulthood participants had experienced the loss of a spouse (9.1%) than those in late adulthood (37.5%), which may explain the significant decrease in rivalry as the need for companionship and support in the face of loss increased, along with the tendency of older individuals to resolve rivalries.
     In examining the differences in rivalry across the three gender dyads, no significance was found.  The means did not lie in the direction predicted, rather more rivalry was found in the BS pair than both the BB and SS pair.  These results are inconsistent with the literature.  Several of the questions in the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (Stocker et al., 1997) that address Rivalry inquire about the relationship of the participant and their sibling to the parent.  Specifically, the ASRQ poses such questions as:  Do you think your mother/father favors you or this sibling more?  Do you think your mother/father is closer to you or this sibling?  With BB and SS pairs, it may be more ambiguous as to which sibling, if any, is favored more because males tend to exhibit certain characteristics that are typical of most males, as do females.  Therefore, for example, in a SS relationship, both sisters may consistently exhibit such characteristics as warm, giving, caring, and affectionate and the contrast between the two sisters may not be extremely evident, making favoritism, if it exists, more difficult to identify.  However, in cross-sex pairs favoritism may be more obvious due to the unique set of qualities belonging to each gender and their potential to clash.  Favoritism of a mother towards her daughter, for example, may be more apparent if the mother finds it easier to identify with certain female-like characteristics of her daughter.
     In summary, the overall quality of the sibling relationships involved in this study did indeed show certain differences with age, some differences being more significant than others.  Warmth appeared to decrease in the relationship during middle age, but increased into late adulthood, while both conflict and rivalry decreased as the siblings age.  In examining the frequencies of experiencing certain major life events, certain transitions in life that occur over time may help to explain the differences found in sibling relationship quality. 
     In terms of the role that gender played in the sibling relationships in this study, it appears that there were differences in the level of siblingship quality across the three sibling sets, though these changes were not significant.  The BB relationships did tend to exhibit less warmth and greater conflict than the BS and SS pairs.  Incidence of rivalry was found to be highest in the BS relationships.  Natural characteristics that are exhibited by females in general and those that are associated with males in general may explain these differences.  An interaction between age and gender was not found and needs to be investigated further in order to fully understand the nature of the sibling relationship and the various influences that may affect the quality of such a relationship.
     The results of this research need to be examined with discretion due to certain limitations that exist in studies with small samples.  There is potential for more complete and heightened significance with a larger sample of participants.  It must also be noted that each subgroup of the sample was restricted to a certain population.  The early and middle adulthood groups consisted of middle to upper class individuals, while the late adulthood group consisted of lower to middle class individuals.  For a more complete and representative study of sibling relationships in general, all societal classes and profiles of individuals need to be examined.  In terms of age representation within each subgroup, a greater range of ages was needed for the early adulthood group.  Most participants in this age group fell at the extreme ends of this particular age span and a closer look at individuals in their mid-twenties would greatly benefit the study of siblingships in early adulthood, as well as in comparing this age group to the middle and late adulthood groups.  These are factors that need to be considered when comparing the three age groups included in this study.  In addition, due to the limited population and time constraints, the results of this study may not be generalizeable to the wider population. 
     Along with population representation and time constraint issues, the instrument used in this study to assess the sibling relationship, the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (ASRQ, Stocker et al. 1997), may need to be revised in the future, particularly for participants over age 66.  The ASRQ consists of 81 questions that assess the quality of the sibling relationship in question.  As a result, this is a lengthy and, for many, tiresome questionnaire which could potentially have an effect on the accuracy of the participantís responses.  In addition, some of the questions that assess the presence of rivalry between the two siblings ask questions in the present tense regarding parental actions towards the respondent and their sibling.  This may not be appropriate for some elderly individuals who have long since lost one or both parents.
     In addition to content and structure, the administration of the ASRQ, as with any instrument, was an important factor in this study.  The ASRQ was administered to the three age groups in a different manner.  Several participants in the early adulthood group were seated in one classroom together and completed the questionnaire, while others received it via mail, answered it on their own terms and then sent it back to the researcher.  Similarly, all of the participants in the middle adulthood group received the ASRQ via mail, while the late adulthood participants either completed it on their own or else had it administered orally to them.  Such inconsistencies in instrument administration need to be considered in examining the results of this study, especially since oral administration of the questionnaire can potentially render demand characteristics. 
     It would be interesting to examine the entire network of the family to understand the impact of other family members on the sibling relationship.  Results of this study were based on one-sided responses regarding the siblingship.  A deeper understanding of the relationship may be found in examining responses to the ASRQ from both siblings.  In addition, it may be interesting to see what effect age difference between the two siblings, as well as the size of the entire family, has on the quality of relationship. 
     Inconsistencies exist in the literature regarding the effect of marriage on the sibling relationship, with some researchers stating that it causes more conflict (Connidis, 1992), and others finding that it brings siblings closer (Bedford, 1996).  This may need to be investigated further to understand why there are such differences in ideas regarding marriage and siblingships, as well as which view is the greater tendency.  A longitudinal look at the relationship among sibling pairs, focusing on their interaction immediately following the marriage of one of the two siblings and then continuing on as the two siblings age, in comparison to sibling pairs that never experience marriage would add to the existing research regarding siblings and marriage and may answer questions addressing the inconsistencies that currently exist in this research. 
     The results of this study and others like it are beneficial in understanding the nature of the sibling relationship.  The siblingship is the longest relationship that an individual will experience and having greater knowledge of the paths that sibling relationships tend to follow over time is beneficial in answering questions regarding the role of the sibling in the future, what one might expect in terms of the impact of aging on the siblingship, and also how to maintain a strong relationship with a sibling.  Understanding how males and females interact with one another adds further insight into how one siblingship may fluctuate or differ from other siblingships.
     This study adds support to the existing literature which suggests that, over time, sibling relationships experience changes and that certain characteristics of an early adulthood siblingship tend to strengthen or weaken with age.  With age comes greater experience, new relationships, and fluctuating priorities.  By investigating the pattern that sibling relationships tend to take over time, it makes it easier for one to understand why the relationship may undergo change, as well as the nature of that transformation.  Most importantly, it sheds new light on the potential roles that siblings may play in the future.

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Appendices

Appendix A

Background Information

1. Your age:                                _________

2. This siblingís age:                _________

3.   Your gender:   male female

4.    This siblingís gender:     male female

5.  Are you or have you ever been married? YES NO

6.  Are you or have you ever been divorced? YES NO

7.  Do you have any children?   YES NO

8.  Have you ever been widowed?  YES NO

9. Have you ever had to take care of an 
aged parent?     YES NO

 Appendix B

Sample Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire Items 
(Stocker, Lanthier, & Furman, 1997)

1. How much do you and this sibling have in common?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

2. How much do you talk to this sibling about things that are important to you?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

3. How much does this sibling talk to you about things that are important to him or her?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

4. How much do you irritate this sibling?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

5. How much does this sibling irritate you?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

6. Do you think your mother favors you or this sibling more?
    1 I am usually favored
    2 I am sometimes favored
    3 Neither of us is favored
    4 This sibling is sometimes favored
    5 This sibling is  usually favored

7. Does this sibling think your mother favors him/her or you more?
     1 I am usually favored
     2 I am sometimes favored
     3 Neither of us is favored
     4 This sibling is sometimes favored
     5 This sibling is  usually favored

8. How much does this sibling accept your lifestyle?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

9. How much do you accept this siblingís lifestyle?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

10. How much do you know about this sibling?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

11. How much does this sibling know about you?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

12. How often do you criticize this sibling?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

13. How often does this sibling criticize you?
     1 Hardly Anything     2 A Little     3 Somewhat     4 Very Much     5 Extremely Much

14. Does this sibling think your father is closer to him/her or you?
     1 Our father is usually closer to me
     2 Our father is sometimes closer to me
     3 Our father is equally close to both of us
     4 Our father is sometimes closer to this sibling
     5 Our father is usually closer to this sibling

15. Do you think your father is closer to you or this sibling?
     1 Our father is usually closer to me
     2 Our father is sometimes closer to me
     3 Our father is equally close to both of us
     4 Our father is sometimes closer to this sibling
     5 Our father is usually closer to this sibling
 
 

 Appendix C

Instructions

     This is a study of the perceived quality of sibling relationships across three generations: early, middle, and late adulthood.  The study is focused on your responses regarding your current relationship with a chosen sibling and involves various questions that address such issues as warmth, conflict, and rivalry.  Some basic background information questions are also included, such as age, gender, race, religious affiliation, etc.  Please report on ONE sibling to whom you feel closest emotionally and on whom you feel you could report in greatest depth.  This sibling must be a FULL sibling (not step, half, or adopted sibling).  Please take your time and answer the questions carefully and as honestly as possible with only the chosen sibling in mind.  Please report on how your relationship with this sibling is now, not how it was in the past or may be in the future.  Once you have completed the questionnaire, please turn your materials over and wait quietly until everyone has finished. 
 
 

Appendix D

A Note To Participants

      Thank you for participating in this research.  As mentioned previously, this study is designed to examine the sibling relationship.  Specifically, three generations are being analyzed: early, middle, and late adulthood.  Research has shown that certain life events, such as college, marriage, childbirth, divorce, and widowhood may affect the quality of relationship that two siblings share.  The aim of this study is to determine if the nature of the sibling relationship changes over time and if so, how.  In addition, the three different sibling combinations (sister-sister, sister-brother, and brother-brother) will be analyzed to determine the effects of gender on sibling relationship quality.  There are many possible responses to the questions you were asked, as well as different degrees of relationship quality between siblings.  No relationship score is better than another.  The study is designed to examine overall differences, due to age and gender, of sibling relationships.  In addition, I am enlisting your aid in maintaining the integrity of this research by not discussing any of the details of this study with anyone until after November 21, 2000.  If you would be interested in reviewing the results of this study, you may contact me through P.O. Box 0763.  Thank you for your participation.

Molly Gray
Saint Anselm College #0763
Manchester, NH 03102-1310 
 
 

 Appendix E

Informed Consent

      All psychological research at Saint Anselm College is conducted according to strict ethical principals outlined by the American Psychological Association and is in full compliance with Federal law.  The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, specifies that informed consent must be given prior to research studies, that is, "Öthe knowing consent of an individual or his legally authorized representative so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without undue inducement or any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, or other form of constraint or coercion."
      Simply put, this means that when you participate in this research study, you will be given a clear explanation of the procedures involved.  You may ask for clarification either before or during the procedure. 
     I understand that my participation in this research is voluntary and that I may withdraw from the study at any time without penalty.  If I have questions about this study, I may contact Molly Gray at Saint Anselm College, P.O. Box 0763, Manchester, NH 03102-1310.  The email address is mgray@anselm.edu. 
    After having carefully read and considered the foregoing, I consent to participate in research activities according to the terms heretofore enumerated.  My signature indicates that I understand the instructions of this study as they have been read to or read by me.

Date  ____________________          Signature   ___________________________________
 
 

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References

      Bedford, V.  (1996).  Relationships between adult siblings.  In A. Auhagan & M. Von Salisch (Eds.), The diversity of human relationships (pp. 120-140).  New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
      Bedford, V., & Avioli, P.  (1996).  Affect and sibling relationships in adulthood.  In C. Magai (Ed.), Handbook of emotion, adult development, and aging (pp. 207-225).  San Diego: Academic Press.
      Brunori, L.  (1998).  Siblings.  Group Analysis, 31(3), 307-314.
      Carstensen, L.  (1992).  Social and emotional patterns in adulthood: Support for socioemotional selectivity theory.  Psychology & Aging, 7(3), 331-338. 
      Cicirelli, V.  (1989).  Feelings of attachment to siblings and well-being in later life.  Psychology and Aging, 4, 211-216.
      Cicirelli, V.  (1996).  Sibling relationships in middle and old age.  In G. Brody (Ed.), Sibling relationships: Their causes and consequences (pp. 47-73).  Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corp.
      Connidis, I.  (1982).  Rethinking criminal justice research: A systems perspective.  Toronto: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
      Connidis, I.  (1992).  Life transitions and the sibling tie.  Journal of Marriage & the Family, 54, 972-982. 
      Connidis, I.  (1994).  Sibling support in older age.  Journals of Gerontology, 49(6), S309-S317.
      Dunn, J.  (1996).  Siblings: The first society.  In N. Vanzetti & S. Duck (Eds.), A lifetime of relationships (pp. 105-124).  Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co.
      Furman, W., & Burhmester, D.  (1985).  Childrenís perceptions of the qualities of sibling relationships.  Child Development, 56, 448-461.
     Gold, D.  (1989a).  Generational solidarity.  American Behavioral Scientist, 33, 19-32.
     Gold, D.  (1989b).  Sibling relationships in old age: A typology.  International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 28(1), 37-51.
     Leder, J.  (1993).  Adult sibling rivalry.  Psychology Today, 26(1), 56.
     Lee, T., & Mancini, J.  (1990).  Sibling relationships in adulthood: Contact patterns and motivations.  Journal of Marriage & the Family, 52(2), 431.
     Moyer, M.  (1992).  Sibling relationships among older adults.  Generations, 16(3), 4.
     Rosenberg, B.  (1982).  Life span personality stability in sibling status.  In M. Lamb & B. Sutton-Smith (Eds.), Sibling relationships: Their nature and significance across the lifespan (pp. 167-224).  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 
     Rosenthal, C., & Gladstone, J.  (1993).  Family relationships and support in later life.  Journal of Canadian Studies, 28(1), 122.
     Schavaneveldt, T., & Ihinger, M.  (1979).  Sibling relationships in the family.  In W. Burr, R. Hill, F.I. Nye, & I.L. Reiss (Eds.), Contemporary theories about the family (Vol. 1, pp. 453-467).  New York, NY: Free Press.
     Stocker, C., Lanthier, R., & Furman, W.  (1997).  Sibling relationships in early adulthood.  Journal of Family Psychology, 11(2), 210-221.
     Stoneman, Z., & Brody, G.  (1993).  Sibling temperaments, conflict, warmth, and role asymmetry.  Child Development, 64(6), 1786-1800.

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If you have any questions or comments regarding this research, please feel free     to email me at:

  mollyrgray@hotmail.com





Other links of interest:

      * Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychologyhttp://www.psichi.org/intro.asp
 
 

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