Reciprocal and Complementary Sibling Interactions: Relations with Socialization Outcomes in the Kindergarten Classroom.
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.
Harrist, AW; Achacoso, JA; John, A; Pettit, GS; Bates, JE; Dodge, KA
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