Little is known about how sibling relationships impact child and family functioning, but Penn State researchers are beginning to shed light on intervention strategies that can cultivate healthy and supportive sibling relationships.
Previous research has shown that siblings are powerful influences on each other's development and well being, yet sibling conflict and rivalry -- which parents say is their top stressor at home -- has largely been ignored by researchers. A pilot prevention program targeting fifth graders and their younger siblings, called "Siblings are Special," aims to enhance the quality of sibling and family relationships and thereby decrease risky behavior and use of drugs among youth as they move into middle school. The pilot program recently received $1.45 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse as part of the National Institutes of Health's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding.
If '70s pop star Marie Osmond had a sister, would she have been closer to her than her six singing brothers are to each other? While Marie may have had more in common with a fictional sister in the make-up and hairstyle department, their genetic proximity would be the same as the bond the famous brothers share with each other.
rowing up, I saw my sister as the authority on just about every thing. Seven years older, she had it all figured out: sports, fashion, friends, boys, school. Sometimes, when I was cool enough to hang out with her, she practiced make-up on me.