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Patterns of sibling aggression and mental health in childhood and adolescence

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Date Published

This article reports on a research study that used telephone surveys to determine how patterns of sibling victimization are associated with mental health in childhood and adolescence. 


The persistence, new onset, or desistence of sibling victimization and its associations with mental health are unknown. the authors examine how patterns of sibling victimization (Persist, New Onset, Desist, and None) are associated with mental health in childhood and adolescence. the authors also compare sibling victimization experiences (i.e., physical severity and number of victimization types experienced) that continue versus stop across two time points. A telephone survey was conducted with a U.S. nationally representative sample (N = 1,936) that included reports of parents with children (age 2-9) and adolescents' self-reports (age 10 to 17). Distribution of the four patterns differed by age group, and the Persist and New Onset patterns were predictive of lower mental health. In both age groups, the Persist group was more likely than the Desist group to experience severe physical assault (weapon used and/or an injury occurred) and two or more types of sibling victimization in the past year. In adolescence, the Desist group was more likely to report mild physical assault than did the Persist group. Chronic sibling victimization (Persist group) is associated with vulnerability to mental health difficulties and severe victimization. Preventing and stopping sibling victimization could reduce physical injuries and mental health despair in childhood and adolescence. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023