Sibling Closeness in Middle School Predicts Differences in College Graduation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“siblings” by Britt Reints is licensed under CC BY 2.0Xiaoran Sun

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

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: College graduation has significant implications for adult life outcomes including for employment, family formation, and health (IOM & NRC, 2015).

Investigating how sibling differences in college graduation emerge sheds light on why children growing up in the same family sometimes follow diverging paths in adulthood. Our study also responds to the call by researchers interested in policy and practice to conduct longitudinal research investigating the role of early family socialization processes in educational attainment (Pettit, Davis-Kean, & Magnuson, 2009). Despite siblings’ important role in child and adolescent development, previous research has focused on parenting and on the academic outcomes of individual children in the family.

Further, although sibling experiences, including their relationship characteristics and parental differential treatment, have been linked to sibling similarities and differences in domains such as risky behaviors (Slomkowski, Rende, Novak, Lloyd-Richardson, & Raymond, 2005), to date, there has been very little research on the role of sibling experiences in positive development, such as academic achievement.   Continue reading

Couples With Children More Likely To Have Conflicts With In-Laws

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mirkka Danielsbacka PhD, D.Soc.Sci

Senior researcher
University of Turku

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Relations between family generations are widely studied in disciplines such as family sociology and demography. However, relations between in-laws are often neglected in family studies of contemporary societies. Especially conflicts have been surprisingly little investigated. We were especially interested in how parenthood is associated with relations to in-laws in a contemporary Western society.

Using nationally representative survey data from Finland with over 1,200 respondents, we studied conflicts that spouses reported having with their own parents and their in-laws. Overall, Finns more often reported having had any conflict with their own parents than with their in-laws. Compared to childless couples, couples with children were as likely to report conflicts with their own parents. However, couples with children were more likely to report conflicts with their parents-in-law. Our results took into account how frequently family members were in contact with each other and how emotionally close they felt, as well as other sociodemographic factors.

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Children Don’t Learn Violent or Disruptive Behavior From Siblings

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ella Daniel, PhD

Department of School Counseling and Special Education
Constantiner School of Education
Tel Aviv University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The development of disruptive behavior in early childhood is extremely important, as disruptive behavior starts early in life and behavioral patterns may become stable and resistant to influence later on. Siblings have a high potential to influence each other’s behavior, as they spend a considerable amount of time together, are close in age and likely to become role models. However, the role of siblings in disruptive behavior development was mostly studied among adolescents, and hardly among young children.

In the current study, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Jenkins and colleagues at the University of Toronto and funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research, we asked parents in some 400 families in and around Toronto, about the behavior of their young children. Both mothers and fathers reported the frequency of disruptive behaviors among their children, including violence, disobedience, destruction of property etc.. At the time of the study, the youngest children in the family were only 18 months of age. They all had an older sibling who was less that 5.5 years of age, and some had additional older siblings, up to four children in a  amily. Using advanced statistical models, we aimed to identify the role of siblings in the development of each child’s disruptive behavior over time, taking into account heredity, parenting, social environment and shared history.

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No Difference in Behavioral Issues In Children Adopted By LGBT Parents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rachel H. Farr, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology University of Kentucky

Dr. Rachel H. Farr

Rachel H. Farr, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
University of Kentucky

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Controversy continues to surround parenting by lesbian and gay (LG) adults and outcomes for their children. As sexual minority parents increasingly adopt children, longitudinal research about child development, parenting, and family relationships is crucial for informing such debates. This longitudinal study compared outcomes for children, parents, couples, and the overall family system among nearly 100 (N = 96) adoptive families with lesbian, gay, and heterosexual parents at two time points: when children were preschool-age, and approximately 5 years later, when children were in middle childhood. Child outcomes were assessed via parent- and teacher-reported behavior problems, while parent outcomes were assessed via self-reports of parenting stress levels. Couple and family outcomes were evaluated by parent reports of couple adjustment and overall family functioning.

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