Temperament and Children's Socialization of Siblings' Self-regulation

Open Access
Grimes, Melissa Rachel
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Alysia Blandon, Thesis Supervisor
  • Charles Geier, Honors Advisor
  • temperament
  • self-regulation
  • siblings
  • socialization
Past research has demonstrated the importance of the sibling relationship in regard to children’s social and emotional development, and specifically in the development of self- regulation skills (Bedford & Volling, 2004; Tucker & Updegraff, 2009). This study examined how children regulate their own behaviors and emotions, as well as how they socialize their siblings to be able to use regulation skills. The role of temperament, and specifically a child’s level of negative affectivity and activity level, in the utilization of the regulation and socialization behaviors was also examined, as temperament has been linked to self-regulation abilities in addition to the overall functioning of the sibling relationship (Brody, 1998; Cole, Dennis, Smith-Simon, & Cohen, 2008). It was hypothesized that older siblings would be more likely to use regulation and socialization behaviors overall, and that the sibling of a child with a difficult temperament would use more negative behaviors to socialize their sibling. Participants were sibling dyads (n = 70) between the ages of two and five. Children participated in a gift wrap and delay task to measure their regulation and socialization behaviors. Parents filled out questionnaires regarding children’s temperament. Results indicated that older siblings used more regulation and socialization behaviors, but not in all measures. Siblings of children with more difficult temperaments did tend to use more control behaviors, but these findings were not significant. The results of this study emphasize the importance of studying children’s regulation capabilities and learning processes in the context of the sibling relationship.