Honors Theses


Jackson Goodnight, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


This study examines the relationship between one’s older siblings’ internalizing and externalizing problems and one’s own relationship with one’s parents in early adolescence. Previous research has indicated that sibling relationships are some of the most long-lasting and important relationships in an individual’s life. Family research has also shown that there are situations in which children’s internalizing and externalizing behaviors can shape their relationship with their parents. However, no previous research to my knowledge has explored whether one’s sibling’s behaviors influences one’s own parent-child relationship. During this study, data from the United States Department of Labor and National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) as well as the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (CNLSY) were analyzed. Siblings’ externalizing and internalizing problems were evaluated through the Behavior Problems Index (BPI). The child’s perception of parenting was evaluated based on four scales: Autonomy, Disharmony, Intimacy, and Joint Activity (Hart et al., 1999). Results indicated that when siblings are further apart in age, there was an association found between internalizing and externalizing behaviors and Joint Activities, resulting in the younger child spending less time with parents. Disharmony between parents and children was found to be only correlated with the child’s own externalizing behaviors, not with a siblings’ externalizing behaviors.

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Undergraduate research