“Who Said You Could Wear My Sweater?” Adolescent Siblings’ Conflicts and Associations With Relationship Quality


  • The research described here was conducted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Ph.D. degree for the first author at the University of Rochester. We would like to thank Dr. Kenneth Hilton of the Rush-Henrietta School District and the many families who participated in this research. We would also like to thank Denise Gettman, Aaron Metzger, Marina Tasopoulos-Chan, and Myriam Villalobos, as well as our undergraduate research assistants for their assistance with family visits and data entry. We thank the Fetzer Institute for their support of this research.

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.


A new measure of sibling conflict was used to identify 2 types of conflicts in 115 adolescent sibling pairs (older siblings, = 15.59, SD = 2.01 years; younger siblings, = 13.02, SD = 2.06 years). Conflicts overall were more frequent than intense and more likely to involve the invasion of the personal domain than conflicts involving equality and fairness, especially by early adolescent older siblings. For both siblings, and with parents’ ratings of their relationship with the target child controlled, these conflicts were negatively associated with sibling relationship quality. The implications of the findings for sibling relationships during adolescence are discussed.