Two issues relevant to relationships models of development were investigated: (1) the influence of maternal context (present, absent) on frequency and types of conflicts of 24 sibling dyads in middle childhood and (2) the stability of maternal and sibling interaction over four years. Maternal presence depressed conflict frequency and aggression; in maternal absence, siblings disagreed about abstract (i.e., procedures/play plans) and concrete (i.e., object) issues and used relatively sophisticated resolutions. Longitudinal findings revealed that earlier patterns of family interaction were related to later indices of sibling conflict and maternal interaction. Specifically, (1) earlier rates of sibling play and hostile interaction were related to sibling conflicts, (2) greater maternal interaction was associated with later sibling conflict, and (3) greater sibling interaction was related to less maternal interaction over time. Findings are discussed in light of recent literature on sibling conflict and the development of social understanding within the context of close relationships.
Howe, Nina; Fiorentino, Lisa M.; and Gariépy, Nadine
"Sibling Conflict in Middle Childhood:
Influence of Maternal Context and
Mother-Sibling Interaction over Four Years,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 49
, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol49/iss2/4