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Keywords:

  • adolescence;
  • adoption;
  • communication;
  • family interaction

Previous research has demonstrated the protective effect of family and sibling closeness on child adjustment, but fewer studies have investigated how closeness is promoted within families. Guided by Family Communication Patterns Theory, we tested the association between family communication and sibling emotional and behavioral closeness, and whether adoptive status moderated this relationship. Participating families included 616 adoptive and nonadoptive families with two adolescent children. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. Sibling closeness was highest in families that emphasized both conversation and conformity and lowest in families that emphasized only conversation or neither conversation nor conformity. Emotional and behavioral closeness were differentially associated with adoption status, sibling age, and sibling gender. Few moderating effects of adoption status were found. Post hoc analyses showed moderating effects of sibling gender composition.