The shift from normal sibling rivalry to emotional maltreatment and Its impact on later psychological wellbeing

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Lupo, Francesca
University of Education. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education
While sibling abuse is a predominant form of family conflict, discussion of severe sibling rivalry representing a form of emotional maltreatment has not received the attention it warrants. This thesis examines the nature of sibling rivalry, severe rivalry as a form of emotional maltreatment, the developmental shift from normal to abusive rivalry, and its consequent psychological effects as perceived by emerging adults (n = 414). The findings suggest age, gender, living in separate homes, parental differential treatment, athletic ability, and academic success, influence perceived sibling rivalry. Statistical analysis reveals that severe sibling rivalry significantly resembles emotional maltreatment and is related to decreased psychological wellbeing. Also, the developmental stage where the shift from normal to abusive rivalry exists was not identified. In conclusion, severe sibling rivalry resembles sibling abuse and should be taken seriously, where if it goes unnoticed it is suggested to negatively affect self-esteem and self-concept.
sibling rivalry , sibling abuse , emotional maltreatment , self-esteem , self-concept , Erikson's psychosocial stages