When quality trumps quantity: siblings and the development of peer relationships

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Child Indicators Research


Deniz Yucel and Douglas B. Downey

Publication date


A growing body of research suggests that individuals raised with
siblings gain social skills that facilitate relationship building with
others. But while this pattern has been demonstrated among
kindergartners and adults, surprisingly it does not replicate among
adolescents. We analyze 4188 10–15 years olds from the United Kingdom
Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) and replicate the previous pattern—number of siblings is
unrelated to peer relationship quality. But unlike past studies, we
explore how sibling relationship quality matters. It turns out that
while the number of siblings is inconsequential, the quality of sibling
relationships plays an important role in shaping the quality of peer
relationships. While past research implies that siblings play no role in
developing the skills necessary for building and maintaining other
relationships among youths, our study clarifies how the quality of
sibling relationships (but not the quantity) is a meaningful contributor
to the development of peer relationships.

Volume and page numbers

8, 845-865






Young People, Child Development, Social Behaviour and Social Psychology


Not held in Research Library - bibliographic reference only