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01-07-2007 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2007

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2007

Differential Parental Treatment, Sibling Relationships and Delinquency in Adolescence

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2007
Ron. H. J. Scholte, Rutger C. M. E. Engels, Raymond A. T. de Kemp, Zeena Harakeh, Geertjan Overbeek
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Ron H. J. Scholte received his PhD in 1998. His research interests focus on two areas of adolescent adjustment. The first area concerns the association between parent-child and peer relationships and well-being, with a specific focus on bullying and victimization. The second area concerns adolescent substance use and the role that parents, siblings, and peers play. Primary attention is given here to the gene by environment interactions that may predict alcohol use and smoking.


The present study examined the moderating effect of the quality of the sibling relationship on the longitudinal association of parental treatment with theft, vandalism, and violence in adolescence. Participants were 416 sibling pairs which were studied over a one-year period. The younger siblings were aged 13 to 15, the older siblings 14 to 17 at Time 1. No significant effects were found for mixed-sex dyads. For same-sex dyads, the results suggested that when the relationship was of poor quality, younger boys who felt treated less favorably by their mothers were most likely to show high levels of vandalism and violence, while younger girls who felt treated less favorably were most likely to show high levels of theft. No such effects were found for older siblings. These findings indicate that differential parental treatment and the quality of the sibling relationship have gender-specific effects on adolescents’ delinquency and have a different meaning for younger than for older siblings.

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