Differential association of family subsystem negativity on siblings' maladjustment: Using behavior genetic methods to test process theory

Mark E. Feinberg, David Reiss, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, E. Mavis Hetherington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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This study investigated the family context of adolescent sibling similarity and differentiation in maladjustment (antisocial behavior and depression) by examining negativity in different subsystems. Two hypotheses were proposed: (1) Parental and sibling negativity tends to diffuse through the family system, especially because of the high level of reciprocity in sibling relationships, leading to sibling similarity; and (2) interparental (coparenting) conflict disrupts cohesive functioning and thereby motivates and facilitates sibling differentiation and niche picking. To control for the effects of similar genes between siblings, the authors used behavioral genetic models with a genetically informed sample of 720 two-parent families, each with at least 2 adolescent siblings. Results for the differences in shared environmental influences across groups high and low in each of the domains of family negativity provided partial support for the hypotheses. The results further understanding of influences on individual differences and support a theory of how parent-child and interparental relationships intersect with sibling relationship dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-610
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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