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UBC Theses and Dissertations

We are family : sibling attachment relationships among young adults Brussoni, Mariana Jose

Abstract

A total of 321 young adult sibling dyads (104 male-female, 108 male-male, and 109 female-female) and 131 singletons completed a set of questionnaires examining the sibling relationship from an attachment perspective. Four central research findings are presented: First, attachment to sibling was significantly correlated with parenting, adult attachment self-model, satisfaction with social support, frequency of contact, and personality traits. Specifically, increased independence encouragement and acceptance by parents, decreased maternal rivalry, a more positive self-model, larger and more satisfying social support networks, and greater frequency of contact between siblings were related to greater quality of attachment to sibling. Also, higher levels of NEO Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, and Emotional Stability were positively correlated with attachment to sibling. Second, there was considerable reciprocity in the attachment relationship for all pair types (r = .58) indicating that siblings' ratings of the quality of their attachment to each other tend to correspond quite highly. Third, more positive self- and other-models were related to increased ratings of positive relationship variables such as affection, emotional support, and satisfaction, and decreased ratings of negative relationship variables such as antagonism, quarreling and alienation. Fourth, concordance rates in attachment self- and other-models were very low, indicating that siblings do not resemble each other in the attachment dimensions. However, siblings appear to describe each other's attachment models relatively accurately, and perceive themselves as having similar self- and other-models to their siblings. Findings are discussed in terms of theoretical advancements for attachment theory and the sibling literature, and practical implications for fostering positive sibling relationships.

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