Reciprocal and Complementary Sibling Interactions: Relations with Socialization Outcomes in the Kindergarten Classroom.


Journal Article

RESEARCH FINDINGS:To examine associations between sibling interaction patterns and later social outcomes in single- and two-parent families, 113 kindergarteners took part in naturalistic observations at home with siblings, classmates participated in sociometric interviews, and teachers completed behavior ratings. Sibling interactions were coded using a newly-developed 39-item checklist, and proportions of complementary and reciprocal sibling interactions computed. Complementarity occurred more among dyads where kindergartners were with toddler or infant siblings than among kindergartners with older or near-age younger siblings. Higher levels of complementarity predicted lower levels of internalizing but were not related to externalizing problems. Kindergartners' sociometric status in the classroom differed as a function of sibling interaction patterns, with neglected and controversial children experiencing less complementarity/more reciprocity than popular, average, and rejected children. Finally, there was some evidence for differential associations of sibling interaction patterns with social outcomes for children in single- versus two-parent families: regressions testing interaction effects show sibling reciprocity positively associated with kindergartners' social skills only in single-parent families, and complementary sibling interactions positively related to internalizing problems only in two-parent families. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:Those working with divorcing or other single-parent families might consider sibling interactions as a potential target for social skill building.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Harrist, AW; Achacoso, JA; John, A; Pettit, GS; Bates, JE; Dodge, KA

Published Date

  • January 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 202 - 222

PubMed ID

  • 26005311

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26005311

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1556-6935

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1040-9289

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/10409289.2014.848500


  • eng