The Moderation of Age Spacing on the Association between Maternal Differential Control and Internalizing Behaviors

Open Access
Author:
Field, Kristin Nicole
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Jenae Marie Neiderhiser, Thesis Supervisor
  • Hobart H Cleveland Iii, Thesis Supervisor
  • Kathryn Bancroft Hynes, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • parental differential treatment
  • siblings
  • age spacing
Abstract:
Previous research on sibling comparison has largely examined the moderating effects of gender, sibling constellation, and age on the association between parental differential control (PDT) and externalizing behaviors. Although not extensively studied, research on internalizing behaviors and PDT have shown that there is an association between internalizing behaviors and maternal differential control. Sibling age spacing as a moderator has not been examined. Using a sample of 720 families from the Non-shared Environment on Adolescent Development (NEAD) project, this study examined sibling age spacing and the association between maternal differential control and internalizing behaviors of siblings. Sibling dyads included in this study were no more than 4 years apart and ranged from 9 to 18 years of age. Both mother and child reports of internalizing behaviors, which are not highly correlated, were examined separately via regression analyses. To examine family composition and twin effects on the association between maternal differential control and internalizing behaviors, step versus non-step and twin versus non-twin sibling dyads were also analyzed. Overall, results supported previous research showing an association between maternal differential control and internalizing behaviors. Sibling age difference did not moderate the association between maternal differential control and internalizing behaviors. This finding, however, could be due to the relatively small age differences seen in the sample.