Safety involving brothers and sisters gender differences

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in Clinical Psychology


Department of Psychology


Advisor: Keri Brown Kirschman


This study used a simulated hazard methodology to examine gender differences in sibling supervision. The sibling pairs (N = 60) were recruited from day cares, pediatrician offices, and other community organizations. Sibling supervisors (age 6-12) were asked to care for their younger sibling (age 3-5) in a simulated hazard room (i.e., a room that contained objects that appear to be dangerous but are made safe to eliminate the risk of injury) for 20 minutes while their parent filled out paperwork in another room. Observations were coded for child risk behaviors and subsequent sibling supervisory behavior. In addition, parents completed questionnaires in regards to child behavior, temperament, injury, sibling supervision at home, and the sibling relationship. In examining the parental report data, results revealed that male sibling supervisors were more likely to supervise their younger sibling while the younger sibling was eating than were female sibling supervisors. No other gender differences were found in regards to sibling supervision at home. With regard to the observational data, there were no significant findings related to gender differences in the quality of sibling supervision. The results suggested that female sibling supervisors did not provide significantly more positive sibling reactions than male sibling supervisors and that supervisors, both male and female, did not provide significantly more positive sibling reactions to female younger siblings than to male younger siblings. The findings suggested that gender may not be a variable of interest in assessing the quality of a sibling supervisor and that future researchers should continue to look for the attribute that sets adequate sibling supervisors apart from inadequate sibling supervisors.


Child caregivers Sex differences, Brothers and sisters Family relationships Sex differences, Children Family relationships Sex differences, Children's accidents Prevention

Rights Statement

Copyright 2012, author