Title

Family stress and children's rejection by peers: Do siblings provide a buffer?

Abstract

We present two studies examining the role of siblings as possible buffers against the negative impact of family stress on children's peer relations. In Study 1, we examined associations between stress, sibling status, and peer rejection in a sample of 206 children in grades 3-5 in a majority African-American, rural, lower SES sample. In this low-income sample, higher stress was associated with more peer rejection, but having a sibling did not appear to buffer children against rejection by peers. In Study 1, we examined associations between stress, sibling status, and multiple dimensions of peer relations in a sample of 47 children in grades 3-6 in a majority Caucasian, urban, middle SES sample. In this middle-class sample, stress was unrelated to peer rejection but was associated with higher aggression, which often leads to rejection. In addition, the results from the middle class sample suggested that having a sibling may act as a buffer under high-stress conditions. The results are discussed in terms of current conceptualizations of buffering, contextual influences on family-peer links, and the need to assess multiple dimensions of children's peer-related functioning. © 2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc.

Publication Title

Journal of Child and Family Studies

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