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Comparing Analytic Techniques to Classify Dyadic Relationships: An Example Using Siblings


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    Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, 150 S Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802.

Department of Child Development and Family Studies, Purdue University, CDFS Building, 101 Gates Road, W Lafayette, IN 47906 (


Several methods exist for typologizing dyadic relationships. The present study reviews the utility of methods for typologizing relationships, exploring the strengths and weaknesses of 3 different approaches, and applying them to the study of adolescent sibling relationships. The 3 methods examined are a priori methods, cluster analysis, and mixture models. Each approach was used to analyze the same data taken from a cross section of a longitudinal study of 384 families with adolescent children. Clustering appeared to favor a 2-type solution whereas the mixture model approach supported 4 types. The 3 strategies are discussed in terms of their statistical rigor and utility in the study of close relationships.