The purpose of this research was to examine whether, and in which ways, parents' early experiences with siblings relate to the quality of sibling relationships achieved by their offspring. Naturalistic observations of children interacting with their siblings, and interviews with parents provided a data base for estimating the quality of sibling relations in two generations of 56 families. Results indicated that mothers who reported negative sibling histories were most likely to have children who interacted more positively with one another. This pattern was best explained by the maternal selection of child-rearing strategies, such as less differential treatment of siblings, reduced use of authoritarian strategies and greater reliance on redirection techniques. Greater concerns among mothers reporting negative sibling histories about how conflict in the home may adversely affect sibling relationships was also associated with more positive interactions between offspring. Knowledge of parents' particular goals or expectations for the sibling relationship, or characteristics of the children themselves accounted for very little variance in sibling relationship quality among offspring. Results are discussed in reference to current theoretical models of intergenerational linkages.
- intergenerational linkages
- sibling histories
- sibling relationships
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science