Most children in the world grow up with one or more siblings. Interactions with siblings serve important functions in development because they allow children to practice roles and to observe other children who are related and who are more skilled. The sibling relationship is important in development through the lifespan, but the nature of sibling relationships varies across cultures. Even in childhood, siblings are effective at socializing each other in cultural activities involving cognitive and social skills. Through the lifespan, siblings bonds continue to different degrees across cultures.
The topic of siblings has been approached most notably in the fields of developmental psychology, including clinical approaches, and in anthropology. The role of siblings in childhood socialization has received much attention in recent years (e.g., Dunn and Plomin 1990, Maynard 2004, Nuckolls 1993, Zukow 1989, Zukow-Goldring 1995). Dunn and Kendrick 1982 examines sibling relationships from a European and European-American point of view.
Dunn, Judy, and Carol Kendrick. Siblings: Love, Envy, and Understanding. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982.
A dominant theme is sibling rivalry, a cultural phenomenon in the West. The authors also focus on parent-child relationships, and how parents can support sibling relationships.
Dunn, Judy, and Robert Plomin. Separate Lives: Why Siblings Are So Different. New York: Basic Books, 1990.
A book about siblings by a premier sibling researcher and a psychologist specializing in behavioral genetics. The book shows how heredity and environment interact in the development of children growing up in the same families.
Maynard, Ashley E. “Sibling Interactions.” In Childhood and Adolescence: Cross-cultural Perspectives and Applications. Edited by Uwe Gielen and Jaipaul L. Roopnarine, 229–252. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2004.
This is a chapter reviewing sibling interactions across cultures.
Nuckolls, Charles W., ed. Siblings in South Asia: Brothers and Sisters in Cultural Context. New York: Guilford, 1993.
This is an edited volume covering sibling relationships in South Asia from several perspectives, including those from developmental psychology, psychoanalysis, and ethnopsychology.
Zukow, Patricia Goldring, ed. Sibling Interaction across Cultures: Theoretical and Methodological Issues. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1989.
This is an edited volume by a leading expert in sibling relationships. The book focuses on social interaction among siblings as an engine for social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Zukow-Goldring, Patricia. “Sibling Caregiving.” In Handbook of Parenting. Vol. 3, Status and Social Conditions of Parenting. Edited by Marc H. Bornstein, 177–208. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1995.
This is a handbook chapter on sibling interactions. Zukow-Goldring reviews research on sibling interactions from a cultural and developmental perspective. This handbook chapter is an excellent place to start the study of sibling interactions across cultures.
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page. Please subscribe or login.
How to Subscribe
Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions and individuals. For more information or to contact an Oxford Sales Representative click here.
Purchase an Ebook Version of This Article
Ebooks of the Oxford Bibliographies Online subject articles are available in North America via a number of retailers including Amazon, vitalsource, and more. Simply search on their sites for Oxford Bibliographies Online Research Guides and your desired subject article.
If you would like to purchase an eBook article and live outside North America please email email@example.com to express your interest.
- Aboriginal Childhoods
- Addams, Jane
- ADHD, Sociological Perspectives on
- Adolescence and Youth
- Adolescent Consent to Medical Treatment
- Adoption and Fostering
- Adoption and Fostering, History of Cross-Country
- Advertising and Marketing, Psychological Approaches to
- Advertising and Marketing, Sociocultural Approaches to
- African American Children and Childhood
- After-school Hours and Activities
- Animals, Children and
- Animations, Comic Books, and Manga
- Anthropology of Childhood
- Archaeology of Childhood
- Ariès, Philippe
- Attachment in Children and Adolescents
- Australia, History of Adoption and Fostering in
- Autism, Medical Model Perspectives on
- Best Interest of the Child
- Bioarchaeology of Childhood
- Body, Children and the
- Body Image
- Boy Scouts/Girl Guides
- Bronfenbrenner, Urie
- Bruner, Jerome
- Buddhist Views of Childhood
- Byzantine Childhoods
- Child Beauty Pageants
- Child Homelessness
- Child Protection
- Childcare Manuals
- Childhood and Borders
- Childhood as Discourse
- Children's Views of Childhood
- China, Japan, and Korea
- Civil Rights Movement and Desegregation
- Classical World, Children in the
- Clothes and Costume, Children's
- Colonization and Nationalism
- Common World Childhoods
- Competitiveness, Children and
- Congenital Disabilities
- Consumer Culture, Children and
- Consumption, Child and Teen
- Critical Approaches to Children’s Work and the Concept of ...
- Discipline and Punishment
- Disney, Walt
- Divorce And Custody
- Domestic Violence
- Drawings, Children's
- Early Childhood
- Environment, Children and the
- Ethics in Research with Children
- Evolutionary Studies of Childhood
- Female Genital Cutting
- Feral and "Wild" Children
- Fetuses and Embryos
- Films about Children
- Foundlings and Abandoned Children
- Freud, Anna
- Freud, Sigmund
- Friends and Peers: Psychological Perspectives
- Froebel, Friedrich
- Gay and Lesbian Parents
- Gender and Childhood
- Geographies, Children's
- Hall, G. Stanley
- Hindu Views of Childhood and Child Rearing
- Hispanic Childhoods (U.S.)
- Historical Approaches to Child Witches
- History of Adoption and Fostering in Canada
- History of Childhood in America
- History of Childhood in Canada
- Images of Childhood, Adulthood, and Old Age in Children’s ...
- Infancy and Ethnography
- Innocence and Childhood
- Institutional Care
- Islamic Views of Childhood
- Juvenile Detention in the US
- Labor, Child
- Latin America
- Learning, Language
- Learning to Write
- Legends, Contemporary
- Literary Representations of Childhood
- Literature, Children's
- Magazines for Teenagers
- Maltreatment, Child
- Material Cultures of Western Childhoods
- Media Culture, Children's
- Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Childhoods
- Middle Childhood
- Middle East
- Multi-culturalism and Education
- Music and Babies
- Native American and Aboriginal Canadian Childhood
- New Reproductive Technologies and Assisted Conception
- Nursery Rhymes
- Organizations, Nongovernmental
- Parental Gender Preferences, The Social Construction of
- Pediatrics, History of
- Peer Culture
- Peter Pan
- Piaget, Jean
- Politics, Children and
- Poverty, Rights, and Well-being, Child
- Prostitution and Pornography, Child
- Queer Theory and Childhood
- Race and Ethnicity
- Racism, Children and
- Readers, Children as
- Refugee and Displaced Children
- Rights, Children's
- Risk and Resilience
- School Shootings
- Sex Education in the United States
- Social and Cultural Capital of Childhood
- Social Movements, Children's
- Social Policy, Children and
- Socialization and Child Rearing
- Sociology of Childhood
- South African Birth to Twenty Project
- South Asia
- Special Education
- Spock, Benjamin
- Sports and Organized Games
- Street Children
- Sure Start
- Teenage Fathers
- Teenage Pregnancy
- The Bible and Children
- Theories, Pedagogic
- Twins and Multiple Births
- United Kingdom, History of Adoption and Fostering in the
- United States, Schooling in the
- Value of Children
- Views of Childhood, Jewish and Christian
- Violence, Children and
- Visual Representations of Childhood
- Voice, Participation, and Agency
- Vygotsky, Lev and His Cultural-historical Approach to Deve...
- Welfare Law in the United States, Child
- Well-Being, Child
- Western Europe and Scandinavia
- Witchcraft in the Contemporary World, Children and
- Work and Apprenticeship, Children's
- Young Carers
- Young Lives