Young Adolescents’ Patterns of Involvement with Siblings and Friends

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Abstract

We identified different patterns in young adolescents’ experiences with their siblings and their friends and investigated the connections between these relationship patterns and both young adolescents’ psychosocial functioning and the characteristics of their family and neighbourhood contexts. Participants were 141 families, including mothers, fathers, young adolescents (M = 11.4 years), and their younger siblings (M = 8.3 years). Cluster analysis revealed three groups of young adolescents: (1) high intimacy and involvement with sibling, high intimacy with friend but low involvement with friends (‘Differentiated’); (2) high intimacy and involvement with friend but not sibling (‘Incongruent’); and (3) low involvement and intimacy with both sibling and friend (‘Congruent’). The Congruent pattern was associated with young adolescents’ personal characteristics and their parent-adolescent relationship experiences. In contrast, the Incongruent and Differentiated profiles were linked to contextual factors (i.e., family and neighbourhood resources). Findings suggest that individual differences exist in the associations between young adolescents’ relationships with siblings and friends.

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