Eric D. Widmer

Widmer, E.D., Weiss, C. (2000). Do older siblings make a difference;? The effects of older sibling support and older sibling adjustment on the adjustment of socially disadvantaged adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, vol. 10, n°1, pp. 1-29.

Based on a definition of social support as a buffer against stressful events or situations (Kaplan, Cassel & Gore, 1977), we hypothesize that support from well-adjusted older siblings is associated with positive developmental adjustment for disadvantaged inner-city adolescents. Using 148 matched pairs of independent interviews of cohabiting siblings from an urban area, this analysis investigates the association between older sibling support, older siblings’ adjustment, and younger siblings’ adjustment in the areas of delinquency, academic success, and mental health. We find that sibling support is non-significantly correlated with all three areas of developmental adjustment for younger siblings. Only when accompanied by a positive image of their older sibling is support associated with positive developmental adjustment for younger siblings.

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