041: Siblings: Why do they fight, and what can we do about it?

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Hot on the heels of our last episode on whether only children really are as bad as their reputation, this week’s episode is for the 80% of families (in the U.S., at least) who have more than one child.

How do siblings impact each other’s development?  What should we make of the research on how birth order impacts each child?  Why the heck do siblings fight so much, and what can we do about it?  (Turns out that siblings in non-Western countries actually don’t fight anywhere near as much…)

We cover all this and more with my guest, Professor Susan McHale of Penn State University.

References
Bjerkedal, T., Kristensen, P., Skjeret, G.A., & Brevik, J.I. (2007). Intelligence test scores and birth order among young Norwegian men (conscripts) analyzed within and between families. Intelligence 35, 503-514.
Branje, S.J.T., van Lieshout, C.F.M., van Aken, M.A.G., & Haselager, G.J.T. (2004). Perceived support in sibling relationships and adolescent development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 45(8), 1385-1396.
Dixon, M., Reyes, C.J., Leppert, M.F., & Pappas, L.M. (2008). Personality and birth order in large families. Personality and Individual Differences 44, 119-128.
Dunn, J., & Kendrick, C. (1980). The arrival of a sibling: Changes in patterns of interaction between mother and first-born child. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 21, 119-132.
Dunn, J. (1995). From one child to two: What to expect, how to cope, and how to enjoy your growing family. New York, NY: Ballantine.
Feinberg, M.E., Solmeyer, A.R., Hostetler, M.L., Sakuma K-L, Jones, D., & McHale, S.M. (2012). Siblings are special: Initial test of a new approach for preventing youth behavior problems. Journal of Adolescent Health 53, 166-173.
Healey, M.D., & Ellis B.J. (2007). Birth order, conscientiousness, and openness to experience: Tests of the family-niche model of personality using a within-family methodology. Evolution and Human Behavior 28, 55-59.
Jensen, A.C., & McHale, S.M. (2015). What makes siblings different? The development of sibling differences in academic achievement and interests. Journal of Family Psychology 29(3), 469-478.
Kristensen, P. & Bjerkedal, T. (2007). Explaining the relation between birth order and intelligence. Science (New Series), 316(5832), 1717.
Lawson, D.W., & Mace, R. (2008). Sibling configuration and childhood growth in contemporary British Families. International Journal of Epidemiology 37, 1408-1421.
McHale, S.M., Bissell, J., & Kim, J-Y. (2009). Sibling relationship, family, and genetic factors in sibling similarity in sexual risk. Journal of Family Psychiatry 23(4), 562-572.
McHale, S.M., Updegraff, K.A., Helms-Erikson, H., & Crouter, A.C. (2001). Sibling influences on gender development in middle childhood and early adolescence: A longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology 37(1), 115-125.
McHale, S.M., Updegraff, K.A., & Whiteman, S.D. (2012). Sibling relationships and influences in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Marriage and Family 75(5), 913-930.
Palhaus, D.L., Wehr, P., & Trapnell, P.D. (2000). Resolving controversy over birth order and personality: By debate or by design? Politics and the Life Sciences 19(2), 177-179.
Rohrer, J.M., Egloff, B., & Schmukle, S.C. (2015). Examining the effects of birth order on personality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(46), 14224-14229.
Solmeyer, A.R., McHale, S.M., & Crouter, A.C. (2014). Longitudinal associations between sibling relationship qualities and risky behavior across adolescence. Developmental Psychology 50(2), 600-610.
Updegraff, K.A., McHale, S.M., Killoren, S.E., & Rodriguez, S.A. (2011). Cultural variations in sibling relationships. In J. Caspi (Ed.), Sibling Development: Implications for Mental Health Practitioners. New York, NY: Springer.

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