Processes of Sibling Influence in Adolescence: Individual and Family Correlates*


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    This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (R01-HD32336) to Ann C. Crouter and Susan M. McHale, co-principal investigators. We are grateful to the families who participated in this project. We thank Kelly Bremer and Nicole Holderman for their work on this project as well as Kelly Davis, Aryn Dotterer, Sandee Hemman, Melissa Fortner, Kristen Johnston, Marni Kan, Ji-Yeon Kim, Carolyn Ransford, Lilly Shanahan, Cindy Shearer, Megan Winchell, and a large staff of graduate and undergraduate interviewers for their help in conducting this investigation. We also thank Susan McHale for her comments on this paper.

**Shawn D. Whiteman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies at the Purdue University, 101 Gates Road, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2020 (

Abigail Christiansen is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies at the Purdue University, 1200 W State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2020 (


Abstract: This study examined the nature and correlates of adolescents’ perceptions of sibling influence. Participants included 2 siblings (firstborn age M= 17.34; second-born age M= 14.76 years) from 191 maritally intact families. Adolescents’ perceptions of sibling influence were measured via coded responses to open-ended questions about whether their sibling had an influence on them. Analyses revealed that older and younger siblings reported different patterns of influence. Differentiation influence and being a role model were more prevalent for firstborns, whereas modeling and modeling plus differentiation were more prevalent for second-borns. First- and second-borns’ reports of influence were linked differentially to their relational and personal qualities. Discussion focuses on the need to refine the measurement of sibling influence processes.