The role of conflict communication in the link between marital and sibling relationship qualities
Research shows that persistently intense marital conflict has deleterious effects on children, leading to adjustment problems such as anxiety or aggression (Grych & Fincham, 2001; Ha, Overbeek, Vermulst, & Engels, 2009). However, research findings on the association between marital and sibling relationship qualities have not been consistent, where research has shown a 'spillover' effect from marital to sibling relationship quality and how siblings demonstrate a 'compensation' effect (Roth, Harkins, & Eng, 2014; Stocker & Youngblade, 1999). Thus, the present study examined whether observed sibling interactions (the extent to how siblings discuss conflict constructively or destructively) moderate the association between marital relationship quality and sibling relationship quality. Hierarchical linear regression was utilized to assess the hypothesized associations between marital and sibling relationship quality, and whether communication served as a moderating variable between marital and sibling relationship quality. No support found for spillover or compensation effects for older or younger siblings. However, sibling conflict communication was consistently associated with sibling relationship quality and older siblings' significant simple slopes analyses. Findings suggest that older siblings are more directly affected by the marital relationship and that other moderating variables besides conflict communication may impact the direct association between marital and sibling relationship quality.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License.