Sibling dynamics may predict differences in education

Sibling dynamics may predict differences in education

In a study spanning about 15 years, the researchers found that when siblings felt more warmth toward each other in childhood, they were more likely to achieve similar levels of education. But, when siblings felt that their parents’ treatment of themselves versus their sibling was unfair, or when their fathers spent more time with one sibling than the other, those siblings achieved different levels of education.

Xiaoran Sun, a doctoral candidate in human development and family studies, said the results held up even when the researchers controlled for the siblings’ grade-point averages across childhood and adolescence, suggesting that school achievement may not be the only factor determining what level of education a person achieves.

“While school is obviously important, this study helps show that what goes on inside families can have an impact, as well,” said Susan McHale, distinguished professor of human development and family studies. “Warmth from siblings may not mean you’re more likely to go to college, but it seems to be a factor in how similarly the two siblings turn out. People don’t tend to think about siblings being important to academic achievement, but our findings highlight the importance of family experiences — beyond what happens at school.”

Source: Childhood sibling dynamics may predict differences in college education


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