Differential Associations Between Domains of Sibling Conflict and Adolescent Emotional Adjustment


  • Nicole Campione-Barr, Kelly Bassett Greer, and Anna Kruse were all in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri at the time this research was conducted; Anna Kruse is now in the School of Public Health at Yale University. Partial versions of the research described here were presented at the 2010 Society for Research on Adolescence meetings in Philadelphia, PA and at the 2011 Midwestern Psychological Association meetings in Chicago, IL.

  • We would like to thank the Columbia Public School District and the many families who participated in this research, as well as our undergraduate research assistants for their participation with family visits and data entry. We are grateful to Rebecca Schwartz-Mette for her statistical assistance, as well as Amanda Rose and Judi Smetana, for reading earlier drafts. Finally, we thank the University of Missouri Research Board and Research Council for their support of this research.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Nicole Campione-Barr, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 210 McAlester Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. Electronic mail may be sent to campionebarrn@missouri.edu.


Issues of equality and fairness and invasion of the personal domain, 2 previously identified topic areas of adolescent sibling conflict (N. Campione-Barr & J. G. Smetana, 2010), were examined in 145 dyads (Mfirst-born = 14.97, SD = 1.69 years; Msecond-born = 12.20, SD = 1.90 years) for their differential effects on youths' emotional adjustment over 1 year. The impact of internalizing symptoms on later sibling conflicts also was tested. Invasion of the personal domain conflicts were associated with higher levels of anxiety and lower self-esteem 1 year later, whereas Equality and Fairness issues were associated with greater depressed mood. Conversely, greater internalizing symptomatology and lower self-esteem predicted more of both types of conflict. Moderating influences of gender and ordinal position were also examined.