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Title: Family structure and psychological distress : moderating effects of sex of siblings in samples with separated parents
Author: Wright, Elizabeth Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2676 0366
Awarding Body: De Montfort University
Current Institution: De Montfort University
Date of Award: 2008
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Research has revealed that siblings may moderate the negative impact of parental divorce however, relatively little is known about the extent of influence siblings may have upon adjustment following parental divorce. Likewise previous research has acknowledged variations in sibling relationships as a function of sex, but little is known about the significance of sibling sex constellation upon individual outcomes, particularly following parental divorce. The relationship between the sex constellation of siblings in a family (taking sex of participants into account), psychological distress, the psychosocial correlates of distress, family environment, and family structure (intact versus non-intact) was investigated in two studies of 708 and 574 emerging adults respectively. Study 1 was a student sample of294 males and 414 females and assessed parental relationship and sibling sex constellation in relation to participants' perceptions oftheir family environment, social support, perceived control, optimism, pessimism and psychological distress. Multivariate analysis ofvariance (Manova) produced significant main effects and interactions which show that sibling sex constellation impacts on psychological distress, the psychosocial correlates of distress, and the family environment. Furthermore, sibling sex constellation appears to moderate the impact of intact versus non-intact home on these variables. These findings were further supported by multiple regression analysis (MRA). Study 2 replicated Study 1 in a general population sample of 251 males and 323 females and, in addition, explored the sibling sex constellation effects on achievement motivation, problem-solving style and coping. The majority of the effects from Study 1 were corroborated and main effects and interactions using Manova were shown for achievement motivation and problemsolving style, while results on coping were less clear. Again these findings were supported by MRA. It appears that the presence of female siblings has a positive impact upon adjustment and associated variables, while the presence of male siblings has the reverse effect. These findings have implications for family therapy and counselling and can usefully inform the practice of anyone working with families and children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available