Explaining Differences Between Sibling Relationships in Schizophrenia and Nonclinical Sibling Relationships.
ABSTRACT: Background:Good sibling relationships in adulthood are known to be a protective factor for mental health. The quality of these relationships is influence by the sibship's inherent characteristics (e.g., birth order, number of brothers and sisters, sex composition, age gaps). The present study explored whether these same determinants can help to explain how individuals experience their relationship with a sibling who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Method:A total of 374 adults completed the Adult Sibling Relationship Questionnaire, a scale that probes the quality of these relationships on three dimensions: warmth, conflict, and rivalry. We also collected sociodemographic data and information about family structure from each of the participants. Participants were divided into two matched groups: nonclinical sibling group (n = 187) or schizophrenia sibling group (n = 187). Regression analyses were conducted to extract possible predictors of sibling relationship quality for each group. Further regression analyses then focused exclusively on relationships with an ill sibling, in order to study the role of disease-related variables in explaining each of the three dimensions. Results:Results showed that sociodemographic and family structure data explained a significant proportion of variance in the sibling relationship, but solely for nonclinical siblings. When participants had a sibling with schizophrenia, we found that disease-related variables (symptom severity, frequency of treatment) also had to be included to predict the conflict dimension. Conclusions:Our results suggest that feelings of conflict experienced by the schizophrenia sibling group were fueled by the symptoms the ill person displayed. Healthy brothers and sisters probably have only a poor understanding of these symptoms. This could be improved by supporting them and helping them learn more about the disease. Future research will have to prove that providing such support for siblings does indeed improve the quality of their sibling relationships and, by so doing, enhance the wellbeing of both members of a sibling dyad.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Good sibling relationships in adulthood are known to be a protective factor for mental health. The present study examined and compared the relationships of siblings with either a healthy brother or sister or one experiencing schizophrenia. METHODS:In the first phase, we ran a statistical comparison of the two sibling groups on the quality of their sibling relationships (warmth, conflict, and rivalry), emotional distress, and self-esteem. In the second phase, we looked at whether the quality of the sibling relationship modifies the impact of having a brother or sister with schizophrenia on emotional distress and self-esteem. RESULTS:Results showed that sibling relationships in schizophrenia are less warm and are characterized by heightened rivalry and conflict. In addition, analysis revealed a mediating effect of sibling relationship on the emotional distress of siblings with a brother/sister diagnosed with schizophrenia. CONCLUSION:More needs to be done to enhance the mental health of adults who have a brother or sister with schizophrenia, notably via their sibling relationships.
Project description:This study asks brothers and sisters about their feelings and perceptions toward their sibling with Down syndrome (DS). We analyzed valid and reliable surveys from 822 brothers and sisters whose families were on the mailing lists of six non-profit DS organizations around the country. More than 96% of brothers/sisters that responded to the survey indicated that they had affection toward their sibling with DS; and 94% of older siblings expressed feelings of pride. Less than 10% felt embarrassed, and less than 5% expressed a desire to trade their sibling in for another brother or sister without DS. Among older siblings, 88% felt that they were better people because of their siblings with DS, and more than 90% plan to remain involved in their sibling's lives as they become adults. The vast majority of brothers and sisters describe their relationship with their sibling with DS as positive and enhancing.
Project description:Translating relationship boundaries conceptualizations to the study of sibling relationships, this study examined the utility of sibling enmeshment and disengagement in predicting child adjustment difficulties in a sample of 282 mothers and adolescents (mean age=12.7 years). Mothers completed a semistructured interview at the first measurement occasion to assess sibling interaction patterns. Adolescents, mothers, and teachers reported on children's adjustment problems across 2 annual waves of assessment. Supporting the incremental utility of a boundary conceptualization of sibling relationships, results of latent difference score analyses indicated that coder ratings of sibling enmeshment and disengagement uniquely predicted greater adolescent adjustment difficulties even after taking into account standard indices of sibling relationship quality (i.e., warmth and conflict) and sibling structural characteristics (e.g., sex).
Project description:Children's sleep has both environmental and genetic influences, with stressful family environmental factors like household chaos and marital conflict associated with sleep duration and quality (El-Sheikh, Buckhalt, Mize, & Acebo, 2006; Fiese, Winter, Sliwinski, & Anbar, 2007). However, it is less clear whether sibling conflict is related to sleep duration and children's sleep problems (e.g., nighttime wakings, parasomnias). In addition, few studies have tested whether associations between sleep and stressful family environmental factors are accounted for by an underlying set of genes or shared and unique environmental factors. Participants were 582 twins with sleep assessed longitudinally at 12, 30 months, and 5 years of age. Sibling conflict was assessed at 5 years. Greater sibling conflict was associated with shorter sleep duration and greater number of total sleep problems, over and above the influence of general household stress and other covariates. The heritability of sleep duration increased with age. Shared environmental factors accounted for the covariance between sibling conflict and sleep duration and total sleep problems. Findings hold promise for interventions, including educating parents about fostering positive sibling relationships and healthy sleep habits.
Project description:Intergenerational transfer of wealth has been proposed as playing a pivotal role in the evolution of human sibling relationships. Sibling rivalry is assumed to be more marked when offspring compete for limited heritable resources, which are crucial for reproductive success (e.g., land and livestock); whereas in the absence of heritable wealth, related siblings may cooperate. To date, comparative studies undertaken to support this evolutionary assumption have been confounded by other socioecological factors, which vary across populations, e.g., food sharing and intergroup conflict. In this article we explore effects of sibling competition and cooperation for agricultural resources, marriage, and reproduction in one contemporary Ethiopian agropastoralist society. Here recent changes in land tenure policy, altering transfers of land from parents to offspring, present a unique framework to test the importance of intergenerational transfers of wealth in driving sibling competition, while controlling for socioeconomic biases. In households where land is inherited, the number of elder brothers reduces a man's agricultural productivity, marriage, and reproductive success, as resources diminish and competition increases with each additional sibling. Where land is not inherited (for males receiving land directly from the government and all females) older siblings do not have a competitive effect and in some instances may be beneficial. This study has wider implications for the evolution of human family sizes. Recent changes in wealth transfers, which have driven sibling competition, may be contributing to an increased desire for smaller family sizes.
Project description:Objective:The current study examined the effect of stress on sibling conflict during the first year of pediatric cancer treatment. Method:Families (N = 103) included a child with cancer (aged 2-17 years, Mage = 6.46, SD = 3.52) and at least one sibling aged <5 years of the child with cancer (Mage = 8.34, SD = 5.61). Primary caregivers completed monthly questionnaires throughout the first year of treatment assessing five sources of stress (i.e., general life, cancer-related, financial, perceived treatment intensity, and life threat) and level of sibling conflict. Using multilevel modeling, we explored the effects of these stressors on conflict both at the within- and between-family levels to examine if changes in stress resulted in concurrent changes in conflict within an individual family, and whether greater average stress affected the trajectory of conflict between families, respectively. Results:At the between-family level, higher average levels of cancer-related stress, general life stress, and financial stress were associated with higher sibling conflict at the end of the first year of treatment. Perceived treatment intensity and life threat were not associated with conflict. No stressors were associated with conflict at the within-family level. Conclusions:During pediatric cancer treatment, some stressors may spill over into family relationships and contribute to increases in sibling conflict.
Project description:The evolution of shared male and female traits can be hampered if selection favours sex-specific optima. However, such genomic conflicts can be resolved when independent male and female mechanisms evolve. The existence, extent and consequences of conflict and/or conflict resolution are currently debated. Endocrinological traits like plasma testosterone (T) are suitable test cases, given their important role in mediating correlated traits, plus their opposing sex-specific fitness effects. We compared full-sibling (brother/sister) captive canaries to test for (1) sexually antagonistic selection characterized by contrasting fitness patterns within pairs of relatives, (2) intersexual genetic correlation of plasma T (h(²) = 0.41 ± 0.31) and (3) intralocus sexual conflict over T levels featured by distinct sex-specific fitness optima. We found potential for sexually antagonistic selection, since high fledgling mass was reached by either brothers or sisters, but not by both. We report a positive intersexual correlation for T, as a requirement for intralocus sexual conflict. However, high levels of T were associated with increased female and decreased male fitness (fledgling mass), which contrasts our expectations and challenges the hypothesis of intralocus sexual conflict driven by T. We hypothesize that behavioural and physiological trade-offs differ between sexes when raising offspring, driving T levels towards a state of monomorphism.
Project description:Hypertension in pregnancy is a risk factor for future hypertension and cardiovascular disease. This may reflect an underlying familial predisposition or persistent damage caused by the hypertensive pregnancy. We sought to isolate the effect of hypertension in pregnancy by comparing the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease in women who had hypertension in pregnancy and their sisters who did not using the dataset from the Genetic Epidemiology Network of Arteriopathy study, which examined the genetics of hypertension in white, black, and Hispanic siblings. This analysis included all sibships with at least one parous woman and at least one other sibling. After gathering demographic and pregnancy data, BP and serum analytes were measured. Disease-free survival was examined using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazards regression. Compared with their sisters who did not have hypertension in pregnancy, women who had hypertension in pregnancy were more likely to develop new onset hypertension later in life, after adjusting for body mass index and diabetes (hazard ratio 1.75, 95% confidence interval 1.27-2.42). A sibling history of hypertension in pregnancy was also associated with an increased risk of hypertension in brothers and unaffected sisters, whereas an increased risk of cardiovascular events was observed in brothers only. These results suggest familial factors contribute to the increased risk of future hypertension in women who had hypertension in pregnancy. Further studies are needed to clarify the potential role of nonfamilial factors. Furthermore, a sibling history of hypertension in pregnancy may be a novel familial risk factor for future hypertension.
Project description:The goals of this study were to examine longitudinal changes in perceived control in adolescents' sibling relationships and to describe the nature and correlates of three distinct control patterns: Firstborn dominant, equal, and secondborn dominant. Firstborn and secondborn adolescents in 184 predominately European-American families participated in home interviews and a series of phone interviews as part of a longitudinal a study of family relationships and adolescent development. Findings revealed changes in control over three years as well as sibling differences. In addition, different patterns of control were linked to qualities of the sibling relationship and to adolescent adjustment. The different roles that firstborn and secondborn siblings assume, and why these roles are linked to relationship experiences and adjustment, are discussed.
Project description:The effects of sibship size and structure on delinquency are well established. Specifically, having a large family and many brothers has been shown to predict offending. However, despite strong links between delinquency and alcohol use, the contribution of sibship factors to drinking behaviors remains largely unexplored. The current study investigated the impact of sibship size and composition on younger brothers' and sisters' ages of drinking and intoxication onset.We employed a sample of 4,281 same-sex twins from the Australian Twin Register to examine whether (i) large sibship size facilitates earlier age at first drink (AFD) and age at first intoxication (AFI) in males and females, (ii) having many older brothers predicts earlier ages of AFD and AFI in males, and (iii) having many older brothers results in later AFD and AFI in females. We tested whether effects were moderated by parental divorce and alcohol misuse and mediated by familial religion.Sibling effects were minimal before accounting for family context. However, when parental divorce and excessive parental drinking were included as moderators, sibling effects were significantly amplified among individuals from homes of divorce, and effects were strongest when siblings were close in age.Strong close in age older sibling effects indicate that proximal sibling attitudes and behaviors about alcohol likely interact with structural factors to influence younger siblings' drinking. Sibship factors were much more influential in one population (individuals from homes of divorce) than another (respondents with a parental history of excessive drinking), suggesting that sibling effects vary depending on the type of co-occurring familial risk. Prevention efforts performed at the family level, and introduced before first use of alcohol, are likely to delay drinking initiation and help prevent future alcohol problems.