Sibling relationships in early adulthood: The associations between social statuses and sibling ties


Aldrich, Lindsey L. (2016). Sibling relationships in early adulthood: The associations between social statuses and sibling ties.


Early adulthood is a period when individuals begin to obtain major social statuses, such as finishing school, starting a full-time job, getting married, or becoming a parent. How these social statuses may influence the quality of sibling relationships has rarely been examined. Sibling relationships are common, likely some of the longest relationships most individuals who have siblings will experience, and can be a source of support throughout the life course. Thus, it is important to decipher factors that influence sibling relationship quality. This thesis project uses matched sibling dyads data from the sibling sample in Wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 1,451), to examine the associations between social statuses—education, employment, marriage or cohabitation, and parenthood—and five aspects of sibling relationship quality, including emotional closeness, conflict, direct contact, indirect contact, and turning to one’s sibling for help or advice, among respondents aged 18 to 26. Supporting the time demands perspective, the respondents’ or the siblings’ marriage or cohabitation is related to less direct or indirect contact and fewer fights between siblings. When one sibling is in college, the other sibling tends to report less direct contact. In contrast, supporting the role expansion perspective, older siblings’ parental status is related to younger siblings’ reports of more contact and emotional closeness with the sibling. Those who have a college degree are more likely than those without it to have more indirect contact with their siblings. These findings suggest interconnectedness of siblings’ lives during the transition to adulthood.


Reference Type



Aldrich, Lindsey L.

Series Author(s)

Nomaguchi, Kei

Year Published


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Bowling Green State University

Reference ID