Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Linda Stanhope


Siblings, Relationship, Stress, Family, Brother, Sister, Psychology


Siblings play a major role in each other’s lives. If a child has a sibling, they experience life together often going through similar struggles, events, or joys. As siblings grow up, they often disclose information to each other and why or how they disclose life events to one another can depend on many factors. The disclosure levels will likely shift as siblings grow older and move through life. The current study focused on levels of disclosure between siblings and how disclosure is related to the gender of the siblings and the degree of warmth and emotional support in their relationships. College students (54 male, 140 female, 7 other) completed questionnaires about the relationship they have with the sibling closest in age to them. Participants were asked some general questions about their sibling relationship as well as with whom they would disclose information in three hypothetical situations. Based on previous studies, I hypothesized that siblings would be more likely to go to each other during stressful family events as compared to stressful personal events, and this hypothesis was supported. I also found, as hypothesized, that siblings with warm and emotionally supportive relationships, and who were closer in age, would be more likely to disclose to one another than other siblings. In terms of gender, I predicted that pairs of sisters would be more likely to disclose to each other than both sister-brother pairs and brother-brother pairs, which was supported. Lastly, I expected that siblings would be more likely to discuss a family-wide event with one another and would be more likely to discuss personal and positive events with a friend, which was also supported by my data. No difference was found in disclosure levels between older and younger siblings (in terms of birth order). Overall, I found that siblings were most likely to rely on one another during a stressful family-wide event and that the presence of warmth and emotional support facilitated the increased disclosure. In the future, it could be helpful to examine how disclosure levels between siblings differ later in life as people start new families or even move towards the end of their lives.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.