Other Free Encyclopedias » Marriage and Family Encyclopedia » Relatives & Extended Family » Sibling Relationships - Sibling Similarities And Differences, Siblings In Non-western Cultures, Sibling Relationships Across The Life Span

Sibling Relationships - Conclusion

gender theory family history development family york marriage siblings

The focus on cross-cultural sibling relationships centered primarily on the Far East, where scholars have concentrated attention on structural and cultural factors (i.e., birth-order, gender effects, inheritance, and socialized interdependencies). From an observation of the shifts in family size and structure, one might conclude that the values of individualism and utilitarianism that characterize family relationships in Western societies will erode the traditional values that are at the basis of non-Western societies (e.g., a preference for many children and for sons, an emphasis on interdependence and community). Testing this supposition, Cigdem Kagitcibasi (1996) examined several cross-cultural studies and concluded that in spite of global changes in social structure and economic changes, the collectivistic cultures that emphasize interdependence among family members continues, at least in the Far East (i.e., Japan, China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong). He did observe in both Western and non-Western societies that a change in family relationships is occurring in the patterns of interdependence: material or instrumental support is decreasing whereas emotional interdependence in increasing. Other scholars find that the traditional values of the importance of children and family obligations remain intact in the Far East in various degrees (Cho and Shin 1996; Shen 1996). Whether the patterns of interdependence and obligation among siblings will change or remain stable remains to be seen.

Focus on one Western nation, the United States, found that social science investigators have tended to examine sibling relationships at the interactional level, focusing on different stages of the life cycle. Growing up with their siblings, stepsiblings, and half-siblings, children act (either positively or negatively) as socializing agents, caretakers, playmates, teachers and role models. Across the life span, the majority of individuals report feeling close to their siblings, yet only a minority depend on these kin for intimate companionship or for financial, emotional, or physical assistance when they are adults. However, certain life experiences (e.g., never marrying, having no children, becoming widowed, or experiencing divorce) can produce closer contact and greater feelings of closeness among siblings. For the majority of people, interactions with siblings are positive and lead to the development of an affectionate life-long bond.

One could characterize sibling relationships in the United States as reflecting a culture of individualism that creates both intragenerational and interpersonal independence. This individualism and independence has, in most cases, resulted in affection, concern, and interest in brothers and sisters but with no accompanying obligation or responsibility for frequent contact or mutual aid (Rossi and Rossi 1990).


Bibliography

Adams, B. N. (1968). Kinship in an Urban Setting. Chicago: Markham.

Adams, B. N. (1999). "Cross-Cultural and U.S. Kinship." In Handbook of Marriage and the Family, 2nd edition, ed. M. B. Sussman, S. K. Steinmetz, and G. W. Peterson. New York: Plenum Press.

Allan, G. (1977). "Sibling Solidarity." Journal of Marriage and the Family 39:177–183.

Bernstein, A. (1997). "Stepfamilies from Siblings' Perspectives." In Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy, ed. I. Levin and M. Sussman. New York: Haworth Press.

Boer, F.; Goedhart, A. W.; and Treffers, P. D. A. (1992). "Siblings and Their Parents." In Children's Sibling Relationships: Developmental and Clinical Issues, ed. F. Boer and J. Dunn. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Campbell, L. D.; Connidis, I. A.; and Davies, L. (1999). "Sibling Ties in Later Life."Journal of Family Issues 20:114–148.

Cho, B. E., and Shin, H. Y. (1996). "State of Family Research and Theory in Korea." In Marriage and Family Review, ed. M. B. Sussman and R. S. Hanks. New York: Haworth Press.

Cho, W. S. (1996). "The Chinese Society and Family Policy for Hong Kong." In Marriage and Family Review, ed. M. B. Sussman and R. S. Hanks. New York: Haworth Press.

Cicirelli, V. (1991). "Sibling Relationships in Adulthood: A Lifespan Perspective." Marriage and Family Review 16:291–310.

Cicirelli, V. (1994). "Sibling Relationships in Cross-Cultural Perspective." Journal of Marriage and the Family 56:7–20.

Connidis, I. A. (1992). "Life Transitions and the Adult Tie: A Qualitative Study." Journal of Marriage and the Family 54:972–982.

Connidis, I. A., and Campbell, L. D. (1995). "Closeness, Confiding, and Contact among Siblings in Middle and Late Adulthood." Journal of Family Issues 16:722–745.

Dunn, J. (1995). From One Child to Two. New York: Ballantine Books.

Dunn, J., and Plomin, R. (1990). Separate Lives: Why Siblings are So Different. New York: Basic Books.

Fulgini, A. J.; Tseng, V.; and Lam, M. (2000). "Attitudes toward Family Obligations among American Adolescents with Asian, Latin American, and European Background." Child Development 70:1030–1044.

Furman, W.; Jones, L.; Buhrmester, D.; and Adler, T. (1989). "Children's, Parents' and Observers' Perspectives on Sibling Relationships." In Sibling Interaction Across Cultures: Theoretical and Methodological Issues, ed. P. G. Zukow. New York: Springer-Verlag.

Ganong, L., and Coleman, M. (1994). Remarried Family Relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ganong, L., and Coleman, M. (1995). "Adolescent Stepchild-Stepparent Relationships: Changes over Time." In Stepparenting: Issues in Theory, Research, and Practice, ed. K. Pasley and M. Ihinger-Tallman. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Ihinger, M. (1975). "The Referee Role and Norms of Equity: A Contribution toward a Theory of Sibling Conflict." Journal of Marriage and the Family 37:515–524.

Ihinger-Tallman, M. (1987). "Sibling and Stepsibling Bonding in Stepfamilies." In Remarriage and Stepparenting: Current Research and Theory, ed. K. Pasley and M. Ihinger-Tallman. New York: Guilford.

Kagitcibasi, C. (1996). Family and Human Development across Cultures: A View from the Other Side. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Lee, G., and Ihinger-Tallman, M. (1980). "Sibling Interaction and Morale: The Effects of Family Relations on Older People." Research on Aging 2:367–391.

Matthews, S. H. (1987). "Provision of Care to Old Parents: Division of Responsibility among Adult Children." Research on Aging 9:45–60.

Nuckolls, C. W. (1993). Siblings in South Asia: Brothers and Sisters in Cultural Context. New York: Guilford.

Rossi, A. S., and Rossi, P. H. (1990). Of Human Bonding: Parent-Child Relations across the Life Course. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Scott, J. P., and Roberto, K. A. (1981). "Sibling Relationships in Later Life." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Milwaukee, WI, October 13–17.

Shen, T. (1996). "The Process and Achievements of the Study on Marriage and Family in China." In Marriage and Family Review, ed. M. B. Sussman and R. S. Hanks. New York: Haworth Press.

Straus, M.; Gelles, R. J.; and Steinmetz, S. (1980). Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family. New York: Doubleday.

Sulloway, F. J. (1996). Born to Rebel: Birth Order, Family Dynamics, and Creative Lives. New York: Pantheon Books.

Tsai, W. H. (1998). Marriage and the Family: The Sociology of Family. Taipei, Taiwan: Wu-Nan Publishing.

Visher, E. B.; Visher, J. S.; and Pasley, K. (1997). "Stepfamily Therapy from the Client's Perspective." In Step-families: History, Research, and Policy, ed. I. Levin and M. B. Sussman. New York: Haworth Press.

Weisner, T. S. (1982). "Sibling Interdependence and Child Caretaking: A Cross-Cultural View." In Sibling Relationships: Their Nature and Significance across the Lifespan, ed. M. E. Lamb and B. Sutton-Smith. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

White, L. (2001). "Sibling Relationships Over the Life Course: A Panel Analysis." Journal of Marriage and the Family 63:555–568.

World Bank. (1984). World Tables. New York: Oxford University Press.

World Bank. (1993). World Tables. New York: Oxford University Press.

Zukow, P. G. (1989). "Siblings as Effective Socializing Agents: Evidence from Central Mexico." In Sibling Interaction Across Cultures: Theoretical and Methodological Issues, ed. P. G. Zukow. New York: Springer-Verlag.


Other Resource

U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2001). The International Database. Available from http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/.

MARILYN IHINGER-TALLMAN YING-LING (AMY) HSIAO

[back] Sibling Relationships - Stepsiblings And Half-siblings

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or