Older siblings as positive role models in the development of at-risk children

Date
1994
Authors
Gozali-Lee, Edith
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Altmetrics
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Research Projects
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Abstract

The purpose of the present study is to explore the sibling relationships in low-income families. This study utilized a subsample of a larger longitudinal study and included 35 Head Start and 45 kindergarten children who had older siblings. All subjects were low income. Among the kindergarten children, 29 had attended Head Start. Children were interviewed about their relationships with their older siblings. When a child had more than one older sibling, random sampling was used to select the older sibling on whom to focus the interview. There were no significant differences between Head Start and kindergarten children in their descriptions of sibling relationships. Compensatory and congruous patterns of sibling relationships were investigated in low income families. The quality of sibling relationships was related to social skills of younger siblings. In families who experienced stress, the quality of sibling relationships related to social skills of the younger siblings. In families who perceived no stress, the quality of sibling relationships was related to both cognitive and social skills of the younger siblings. Therefore, parents may influence children's academic skills better than siblings; siblings may influence children's social skills. Several findings on the relationships between family constellation variables (siblings' sexes, ages, and age intervals) and the quality of sibling relationships were consistent with other findings of sibling studies conducted with middle-class families. Only younger siblings' rather than both older and younger siblings' perceptions were used to assess the sibling relationship. In addition, only the interview method was used to assess the sibling relationship. These factors may limit the generalizability of the study.

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Human development and family studies, Human development and family studies (Child development), Child development
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