Aggression between siblings: associations with the home environment and peer bullying

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Aggressive Behavior


Neil Tippett and Dieter Wolke

Publication date


Sibling aggression is a common form of intra-familial aggression, yet
has been largely neglected by research. Using an inclusive measure of
sibling aggression, this study investigated, firstly, prevalence of
sibling aggression and associations with family and household
characteristics, and secondly, the relationship between sibling
aggression and peer bullying. Participants were 4,237 adolescents from
Wave 1 of Understanding Society. Four types of sibling aggression were
measured: physical, verbal, stealing and teasing, and combined into
composite measures of victimization and perpetration. Regression
analysis identified associations with demographic characteristics,
family and sibling composition, parent–child relationships and
socioeconomic status and explored the link between sibling aggression
and involvement in peer bullying. Using a broad definition, sibling
aggression was found to be widespread, with 46% of all participants
being victimized and 36% perpetrating aggression. Household and family
characteristics, including a large family size, male siblings, and
financial difficulties were associated with greater rates of sibling
aggression. Parenting behavior showed the strongest relationship: harsh
parenting increased the risk of sibling aggression while positive
parenting protected against it. Sibling aggression was also
homotypically related to involvement in peer bullying. Victimization by
siblings significantly increased the odds of being a victim of peer
bullying, and perpetrators of sibling aggression were more likely to be
both peer bullies and bully-victims. Considering the adverse effects of
sibling aggression on physical and mental health, the study provides
pointers for efforts to reduce the risk of sibling aggression.
Furthermore, the link with peer bullying suggests that school
anti-bullying efforts should also take account of children's sibling
relationships. Aggr. Behav. 9999:XX–XX, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals,

Volume and page numbers

41, 14-24





Young People and Social Behaviour



Albert Sloman Library Periodicals *restricted to Univ. Essex registered users*