OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

Maternal Depression and Sibling Conflict


Abstract Past research has consistently found that children of depressed mothers are more likely to exhibit externalizing behavior problems, including physical aggression, than children of mothers who are not depressed (e.g., Fisher, Brock, O’Hara, Kopelman, & Stuart 2015; Narayan, Chen, Martinez, Gold, & Klimes, 2015). However, less is known about the link between maternal depression and sibling conflict, including sibling aggression, more specifically. Children with externalizing problems are more likely to exhibit sibling conflict, but problematic sibling conflict also occurs in children without more general behavior problems (Buist &Vermande,2014). Indeed, sibling conflict is quite common (Tucker, Finkelhor, Shattuck, & Turner, 2013; Tippett & Wolke, 2015). Sibling conflict is often perceived as innocuous, but research has shown that it is related to negative psychosocial outcomes in adolescence, and early adulthood (Low, Short, & Snyder, 2012; Vandell & Bailey, 1992). Therefore, it is important to identify factors that may contribute to the development of sibling conflict. The current study explores the relationship between maternal depression and sibling conflict using data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MSC), an ongoing longitudinal study. Over 18,000 mothers who gave birth to a child in the UK in 2000 or 2001 were enrolled at that time and families have been followed since. For the current study, maternal depression and sibling conflict were assessed at sweep 6, which occurred in 2015-2016 when target children were 11 years old. Data analysis and results will be presented.

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