Bidirectional Associations Between Sibling Relationships and Parental Support During Adolescence Academic Article uri icon


  • Sibling relationships and parental support are important for adolescents' development and well-being, yet both are likely to change during adolescence. Since adolescents participate in both the sibling relationship and the parent-child relationship, we can expect sibling relationships and parental support to be associated with each other. Theoretically, it can be expected that there is either a spillover from one relationship to another (congruence hypothesis) or that one relationship can compensate for the other (compensation hypothesis). However, research examining these associations in adolescence is limited. The present study longitudinally investigated the bidirectional associations between sibling relationships and parental support during adolescence. For five consecutive years, data were collected using self-reports of 428 families, consisting of a father, a mother, and two adolescent siblings. The mean ages of the first-born (52.8% males) and second-born (47.7% males) were 15 and 13 years at T1, respectively. For the second-born siblings, prospective associations were found between sibling relationships and adolescent-reported parental support in early adolescence, with no differences between same-sex and mixed-sex dyads. These associations were not found for first-born siblings or for parents' reports of support. The findings suggest a spillover from the sibling relationship to adolescent-reported parental support only in early adolescence. Findings and implications are discussed in terms of the congruence/spillover and the compensation hypothesis.


  • Derkman, Marleen MS
  • Engels, Rutger CME
  • Kuntsche, Emmanuel
  • van der Vorst, Haske
  • Scholte, Ron HJ

publication date

  • April 2011