Infant-sibling communication: Relationships to birth-spacing and cognitive and linguistic development

Elizabeth D. Gibbs, Douglas M. Teti, Lynne A. Bond

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15 Scopus citations


Infant-sibling communication and its relationship to birth-spacing and linguistic and intellectual development were examined. Forty-four dyads of siblings spaced 1-6 years apart were visited when the infants were 12, 12 1 2, 17 1 2, and 18 months old. Measures of both siblings' linguistic and intellectual level were obtained at 12- and 18-month visits. Ten-min videotapes of infant-sibling interaction were obtained at 12 1 2 and 17 1 2 months. Analyses revealed that members of widely-spaced dyads directed more social behaviors to each other, engaged in more interactive bouts, and had more sustained bouts. Infants were more responsive to widely-spaced than closely-spaced firstborns. Siblings' social behaviors were highly interrelated but not related to their partners' linguistic or intellectual level. The amount of time infants spent with their mothers or siblings decreased with increasing birth-spacing, suggesting that any benefit of the more extensive interaction between widely-spaced siblings may be offset by their less frequent contact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-323
Number of pages17
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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