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Sibling Conflicts Undermine Trust

Sibling Conflicts Undermine TrustSibling rivalry is all about jealousy, competition and fighting between brothers and sisters.

A new study finds that certain types of fights can affect the quality of adolescent sibling relationships.

University of Missouri researchers identified two major types of conflict among adolescent siblings and found that conflicts about personal space have a negative impact on trust and communication between siblings.

“The first conflict area we found includes issues about physical and emotional personal space, such as borrowing items without asking and hanging around when older siblings have friends over,” said Nicole Campione-Barr, assistant professor in the MU Department of Psychological Sciences.

“When these issues were present, both younger and older siblings reported less trust and communication. The second conflict area includes equality and fairness issues, such as taking turns and sharing responsibilities. These conflicts had no impact on relationship quality.”

While both younger and older siblings reported personal space conflicts, older siblings reported these conflicts more frequently, according to the researchers. This suggests that older siblings are more sensitive to personal space issues and may indicate the beginning of their separation from the family.

The findings of this study can help parents, psychologists and other individuals who work with teens understand the impact that conflicts can have on sibling relationships. For parents, Campione-Barr suggests setting up family boundaries to reduce sibling conflicts about personal space.

“Parents need to establish and enforce family rules about respecting privacy, personal space and property,” Campione-Barr said.

“However, when sibling conflicts occur, there needs to be negotiations between siblings. Previous research tells us that parents should step aside because they have a tendency to make matters worse.”

In the study, the researchers interviewed and surveyed pairs of siblings, ages 8-20. This study is the first to examine types of sibling conflict between adolescents. Research has traditionally focused on sibling relationships among younger children.

Campione-Barr is conducting a follow-up study to examine the impact that conflicts have on the adjustment of adolescents as individuals.

The study, “Who Said You Could Wear My Sweater? What Adolescent Siblings Fight About and How it Affects Their Relationship,” recently was published in Child Development.

It was co-authored by Judith Smetana in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester.

Source: University of Missouri

Sibling Conflicts Undermine Trust

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Sibling Conflicts Undermine Trust. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 18, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/04/06/sibling-conflicts-undermine-trust/12629.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.