Children's perceptions of the sibling relationship in middle childhood: Connections within and between family relationships

Shirley McGuire, Susan M. McHale, Kimberly Updegraff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


Although sibling warmth and hostility have been shown to be statistically independent, they are intertwined in children's everyday experiences. We developed a multidimensional characterization of children's perceptions of their sibling relationships and examined differences in other family relationship measures as a function of different combinations of sibling hostility and warmth. Participants included 91 firstborn children between 10 and 11 years of age with younger siblings between 6 and 10 years of age. Children reported their levels of satisfaction, intimacy, and rivalry in their sibling relationships and their satisfaction with parent-child relationships. Parents rated their marriages. As compared with children in families with "affect-intense" sibling relationships (high hostility/high warmth), children in "hostile" sibling relationships (high hostility/low warmth) rated their sibling and parent-child relationships more negatively, and their parents rated their marriages more negatively. Results are discussed in terms of the role of hostility in sibling experiences and the importance of understanding multidimensional patterns in the sibling relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalPersonal Relationships
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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