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11-01-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2019

Chinese Mothers’ Sibling Status, Perceived Supportive Coparenting, and their Children’s Sibling Relationships

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2019
Bin-Bin Chen
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-018-01322-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Parents’ experiences as siblings have received little attention from family psychologists. This study examined whether Chinese mothers’ sibling status—growing up with or without siblings—played a role in the quality of their children’s sibling relationships. It also tested whether the association between mothers’ sibling status and children’s sibling relationships was moderated by supportive coparenting. The research goal was to provide preliminary evidence relevant to the importance of parents’ sibling experiences on their children’s sibling relationships.


The sample comprised 167 two-child families in Shanghai, China. Mothers (M = 34.5 years old; 55.1% of mothers without siblings) completed questionnaires assessing supportive coparenting and the quality of their children’s sibling relationships.


The results indicated that there were differences in the quality of sibling relationships among children whose mothers grew up with siblings and their counterparts whose mothers grew up without siblings. Specifically, the former had sibling relationships characterized by more positive involvement, but less conflict, rivalry and avoidance than the latter. In addition, supportive coparenting was positively related to positive sibling involvement and—in children of mothers without siblings—negatively related to both sibling conflict and sibling avoidance.


These findings enhance understanding of how mothers’ experiences as siblings may have a role in their children’s sibling relationships.

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