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Title: Sibling bullying : examining childhood precursors and adverse outcomes in early adulthood using a British longitudinal birth cohort
Author: Dantchev, Slava
ISNI:       0000 0004 8497 9040
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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Sibling violence has been reported as the most frequent form of interpersonal violence. Still, sibling aggression remains an underresearched topic of developmental psychology and continues to be normalized by most parents and health professionals. There is emerging evidence suggesting an association between sibling bullying and a range of adverse consequences relating to mental health and wellbeing, however longitudinal studies using large and representative samples are scarce. Identifying the early childhood precursors involved in the development of sibling bullying is essential in order to reduce or prevent this problem behaviour from emerging. This thesis used a sample of >6,900 children from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a prospective birth-cohort in the United Kingdom, in order to explore the early childhood precursors and some of the long-term consequences of sibling bullying in middle childhood. A set of three studies was conducted. Study one was designed in order to identify the developmental precursors of sibling bullying and compare the relative contribution of four sets of childhood precursors: (1) structural family characteristics, (2) parent and parenting characteristics, (3) early social experiences, and (4) child individual differences. Study two investigated the prospective association between sibling bullying and high risk behaviour in early adulthood, while study three examined the link between sibling bullying and the development of psychotic disorder in late adolescence. Findings revealed that sibling bullying was best explained through structural family characteristics (being the first-born and having older brothers) and sex (being male), reflecting an evolutionary model of sibling aggression. Parenting, early social experiences and child individual differences made smaller contributions. Furthermore, children perpetrating sibling bullying (bully-victims and bullies) were found to be at an increased risk for engaging in high-risk behaviour, while children engaging in any type of sibling bullying (victims, bully-victims and bullies) were found more likely to develop psychotic disorder. The theoretical framework leading up to the above-mentioned studies and findings are addressed. Taken together, the findings presented in this thesis suggest that sibling bullying stems largely out of the evolutionary pressure to compete over resources and regain or acquire social dominance. Furthermore, the results suggest that sibling bullying may have serious consequences in the domains of high-risk behaviour and mental health, lasting into early adulthood. Parents and health professionals need to be made aware of the adverse outcomes of sibling bullying and educational programmes as well as preventative measures should be put in place in order to prevent the emergence of sibling aggression. Sibling bullying further needs to be placed more firmly on the research agenda and funding should be made available for the development of appropriate intervention studies. Both the practical and research implications are discussed in detail.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman