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Relational Aggression in Adolescents’ Sibling Relationships: Links to Sibling and Parent-Adolescent Relationship Quality*


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    We are grateful to the families and youth who participated in this project. We thank Ella Bashore, Matthew Bumpus, Devon Corneal, Heather Helms, Julia Jackson-Newsom, Mary Maguire, Joseph Novotny, Robert Smith, Jennifer Tanner, and Corinna Jenkins Tucker for their assistance in conducting this investigation and Ann Crouter for her valuable comments on this manuscript. Portions of this paper were presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL, April 2003. Funding was provided by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant R01HD29409-01A3 (Ann C. Crouter and Susan M. McHale, coprincipal investigators).

**Kimberly A. Updegraff is an Associate Professor in at the Department of Family and Human Development, P.O. Box 872502, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-2502 ( Shawna M. Thayer is a doctoral candidate at the Arizona State University. Shawn D. Whiteman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Donna J. Denning is a Psychometric Analyst with Aries Technology. Susan M. McHale is a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University.


Abstract: This study examined the links between sibling relational aggression and other sibling relationship qualities (i.e., intimacy, negativity, and temporal involvement) and broader parenting dynamics. Participants included 185 adolescent sibling pairs and their mothers and fathers. Data were gathered during home interviews and a series of nightly phone calls with adolescents and parents. Findings revealed that sibling relational aggression was related to sibling intimacy and negativity. In addition, connections emerged between relational aggression and qualities of the parent-child relationship, parents’ differential treatment, and parents’ strategies for handling sibling conflict.