Document Type

Unpublished Research Paper

Publication Date



During the years of 1995-2015, sibling communication received the least attention among the prominent family relationships studied in the discipline, resulting in sibling research as a topic to be semi-isolated and without a strong synthesis of knowledge across investigations. This white paper examines the discipline contribution to the understanding of sibling communication in these decades. Over 40 journal articles were reviewed and initially sorted into pro-social (constructive) or anti-social (destructive) communication categories. Two sub-categories were identified in the pro-social literature (sibling closeness - 18 studies; relationship maintenance - 14 studies) and two in the anti-social literature (verbal aggression - 5 studies; jealousy/rivalry - 3 studies). The review contains four major sections which address 1) essential definitions and characteristics relevant to the historical advancement of studies involving siblings within the social sciences, 2) pro-social and 3) anti-social studies (both of which include a discussion of potential avenues to advance future research), and 4) the last section addresses methodological and theoretical challenges facing scholars investigating sibling communication, and closes with suggestions for developing a more coherent theoretical approach to advance future research.


Communication Studies



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