ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (5): 825-836.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.00825

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Sibling relationship and its relation with children and adolescents’ social development

ZHAO Fengqing1; YU Guoliang2   

  1. (1 Department of Psychology; 2 Institute of Psychology, Renmin University of China, Beijing 100872, China)
  • Received:2016-07-11 Online:2017-05-15 Published:2017-05-15
  • Contact: YU Guoliang, E-mail:


Sibling relationship is the total of the interactions (physical, verbal, and nonverbal communication) of two or more individuals who share knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, beliefs, and feelings regarding each other, from the time that one sibling becomes aware of the other. Sibling relationship has been a unique and powerful context for children and adolescents’ development and is of significance to their social development. Research on sibling relationship has mostly focused on sibling warmth and sibling conflict, sibling enmeshment and disengagement, as well as positive and negative sibling relationships. Kin selection theory and family system theory have provided theoretical evidence for the interaction pattern of sibling relationship from evolutionary and environmental perspectives. Empirical evidence has supported that positive sibling relationship is beneficial for children’s internal and external problems as well as interpersonal relationships; while negative sibling relationship can increase children’s risk of having internal and external problems. Future studies should increase local studies on sibling relationship, increase studies regarding sibling relationship of special children and children from different family structures, and further explore the mechanism underlying the influence of sibling relationship on children’s social development and targeted intervention strategies.

Key words: sibling relationship, siblings, sibling warmth, sibling conflict, social development