Department of Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University, 105 White Building, University Park, PA 16802.
Linkages Between Parents’ Differential Treatment, Youth Depressive Symptoms, and Sibling Relationships
Article first published online: 7 APR 2008
© National Council on Family Relations, 2008
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 70, Issue 2, pages 480–494, May 2008
How to Cite
Shanahan, L., McHale, S. M., Crouter, A. C. and Osgood, D. W. (2008), Linkages Between Parents’ Differential Treatment, Youth Depressive Symptoms, and Sibling Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70: 480–494. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00495.x
- Issue published online: 7 APR 2008
- Article first published online: 7 APR 2008
- middle childhood;
- parental differential treatment;
- sibling relationships
We tested social comparison predictions about cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between parents’ differential treatment of siblings and both youth depressive symptoms and sibling relationship qualities from middle childhood to late adolescence, controlling for dyadic parent-child relationships and siblings’ ratings of parents’ fairness. Participants were parents and first- and second-borns (M= 11.8 and 9.2 years old at Year 1) from 201 White, middle/working-class families. Three-level models revealed both cross-sectional and longitudinal linkages between differential treatment and outcomes. For example, youth whose parent-child relationships decreased in warmth relative to those of their sibling reported increases in depressive symptoms and decreases in sibling warmth. Gender and age moderated differential treatment-depressive symptoms associations; birth order moderated differential treatment-sibling relationship associations.