Fostering parents' emotion regulation through a sibling-focused experimental intervention

Niyantri Ravindran, Jennifer M. Engle, Nancy L. McElwain, Laurie Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this study, we assessed whether an intervention designed to improve children's sibling relationships, the More Fun with Sisters and Brothers program (MFWSB), may also help parents manage their emotions more effectively. Families with at least 2 children between the ages of 4 and 8 years were randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 50) or wait-list control (n = 34) group. Parents completed preand posttest questionnaires on sibling warmth and agonism, their emotion regulation during sibling conflict, and their global emotion regulation styles. Program participation had a direct effect on 3 of the 4 emotion regulation outcomes for mothers. Mothers in the intervention versus control group reported lower levels of dysregulation and suppression and higher levels of reappraisal at posttest, controlling for pretest regulation scores. Additionally, path models examining posttest responses showed that participation in MFWSB led to lower levels of maternal and paternal negative reactivity in the sibling context via lower levels of sibling agonism, controlling for pretest levels of negative reactivity. Alternate path models, with parents' emotion regulation as mechanisms linking MFWSB and sibling relationship quality, were tested but not supported. Results highlight the value of a sibling-focused intervention for promoting parents' abilities to regulate their emotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-468
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Fathers
  • Intervention
  • Parental emotion regulation
  • Sibling relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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