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Adolescent Sibling Relationship Quality and Adjustment: Sibling Trustworthiness and Modeling, as Factors Directly and Indirectly Influencing These Associations


  • Note: Correction added on 14 March 2011 after first publication online on 17 January 2011. The affiliation of the second author was incorrectly listed and the error has been corrected in this version of the article.

Wendy C. Gamble, Fun Science for Kids, Tucson, AZ, USA. Email:


The main goal of this study was to examine the direct and moderating effects of trustworthiness and modeling on adolescent siblings' adjustment. Data were collected from 438 families including a mother, a younger sibling in fifth, sixth, or seventh grade (M = 11.6 years), and an older sibling (M = 14.3 years). Respondents completed Web-based surveys describing sibling conflict and warmth. Siblings reported on trustworthiness and modeling, and mothers described adjustment. Sibling conflict was directly associated with internalizing and externalizing behaviors for both siblings. The older siblings' reports of trustworthiness were directly associated with the outcome measures. The younger siblings' reports of trustworthiness were less directly associated, but a possible salutary effect was most evident under the highest levels of sibling conflict or warmth. Higher sibling modeling was a risk factor for adjustment problems in relations characterized by high conflict. Results support exploring trustworthiness as a key dimension of sibling relations.