Do siblings matter? The effect of siblings on socio-emotional development and educational aspirations among early adolescents

Publication type

Journal Article

Published in

Child Indicators Research


Deniz Yucel and Anastasia Vogt Yuan

Publication date


Most prior research on siblings has focused on the quantity of siblings, and explored siblings’ effects on educational and cognitive outcomes. In this study, we analyze data on around 4,000 10-15 years olds from the United Kingdom Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) to test the effects of sibship size, child-sibling relationship quality, and other sibling characteristics (e.g. sibling type and birth order) on two outcomes: educational aspirations and socio-emotional development. The results suggest that sibship size has no effect on either outcome. Sibling relationship quality, however, has a significant and positive effect on socio-emotional development. Lastly, adolescents with adopted or foster siblings are less likely to aspire for college, whereas adolescents with half- and step-siblings and those with younger siblings are more likely to have lower socio-emotional development. Overall, these results appear to indicate that sibling characteristics and relationship quality influence adolescents’ well-being more than the quantity of siblings does.

Volume and page numbers

8, 671-697





Young People, Education, Child Development, Sociology Of Households and Social Psychology


Not held in Research Library - bibliographic reference only