Competing processes of sibling influence: Observational learning and sibling deidentification

Shawn D. Whiteman, Susan M. McHale, Ann C. Crouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Although commonly cited as explanations for patterns of sibling similarity and difference, observational learning and sibling deidentification processes have rarely been examined directly. Using a person-oriented approach, we identified patterns in adolescents' perceptions of sibling influences and connected these patterns to sibling similarities and differences and sibling relationship qualities. Participants included two adolescent-age siblings (firstborn age M = 16.39, second-born age M = 13.78) from 171 maritally intact families. Two-stage cluster analyses revealed three sibling influence profiles: modeling, deidentification, and non-reference. Analyses revealed differences in the correlations between firstborn and second-born siblings' personal qualities across the three groups and differences in the sibling relationship qualities of younger siblings who reported modeling vs. those who reported deidentifying from their older siblings. Discussion focuses on refining the study of sibling influence processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-661
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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