Siblings as Resources

In addition to parental resources and parental investments in children, family stress and instability due to sibling structure, and selection effects, a few scholars have proposed that stepsiblings and half-siblings might serve as resources for each other. For instance, children could interpret their parent’s behaviors and personality to stepsiblings, or they might mediate disputes between their biological parent and stepsiblings (Rosenberg & Hajfal, 1985).

It should be noted that there are other, widely known theories of sibling relationships that have not been regularly employed in studying sibling structure in step- families. These include attachment theories, social psychological theories such as attribution, social comparison and equity theories, social learning theories, and fam- ily/ecological systems theories (Whiteman, McHale, & Soli, 2011). All hold great promise for the study of half- and stepsibling relationships, as well as the effects of family transitions on sibling relationships. In the next few sections we discuss what is known about siblings, half-siblings, and step-siblings.

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