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Sibling Relationships

  1. Tina Kretschmer,
  2. Alison Pike

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0871

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Kretschmer, T. and Pike, A. 2010. Sibling Relationships. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of Sussex, United Kingdom

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Although it is rarely contemplated, our sisters and brothers are often the longest lasting relationship partners in our lives. Siblings are present before friendships or romantic relationships, and they usually outlive our parents. Until about three decades ago, the importance of siblings was neglected by psychologists, despite the fact that around 80% of children still grow up with siblings (e.g., U.S. Census Bureau, 2008). Research before the 1980s almost exclusively concentrated on birth order and the impact of particular gender compositions (boy-boy, girl-boy, etc.) for siblings. Most of this literature, however, was either not based on empirical studies at all, or on research with serious methodological limitations. For three decades now, sibling relationships and their impact on family life and individual development have attracted the interest of developmental and clinical psychologists, resulting in a substantial body of evidence-based literature about sibling relationships.


  • family relationships;
  • rivalry;
  • sibling relationships