Efforts to further understand the complexities surrounding the occurrence of physical and emotional sibling violence (SV) are warranted given the substantial negative consequences one can experience as a result of physical and emotional sibling violence (e.g. Meyers, 2014; Phillips, Bowie, Wan, & Yukevich, 2018; Tucker, Finkelhor, & Turner, 2018). One area that has minimally been considered is the intersection of experiences of SV and geographical location of families. While some research has included participants from rural locations (Goodwin & Roscoe, 1990; Roscoe & Goodwin, 1987), to date, no research has compared those living in rural, suburban, and urban based on experiences of SV. This poster will present research comparing parental responses on the experiences of SV based on geographical location while simultaneously considering parents’ expectations for sibling relationships.
After IRB approval, the data collection procedure included obtaining a sample of parents which was collected by Qualtrics. Requirements for study inclusion were that participants had to have two children and had a least one sibling in childhood. A link to an anonymous electronic survey asked questions on the Experiences of Sibling Violence Scale, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), the Rivalry and Agonism subscales of the Parental Expectations and Perceptions of Children’s Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (PEPC-SRQ), and demographics. Data were analyzed with a focus on geographical location as reported by participants as urban, suburban, and rural.
The participants in the sample included in the analysis had a mean age of 40.43, were 58.9% female, and 83.7% identified as Caucasian. No significant differences were found between rural and suburban respondents on the variables included in the analysis and therefore rural and suburban were combined in subsequent analysis. Two independent t-tests were run to examine differences between urban and rural/suburban on the frequency of witnessed behaviors between children and experienced behaviors in childhood. Those living in urban areas reported significantly higher witnessed behaviors between their children t(76.64)=4.676, p=.000 and experienced a significantly higher number of behaviors in childhood t(82.31)=4.327, p=.000 than rural/suburban respondents. An initial regression model to predict frequency of behaviors experienced in childhood by ACEs and geographical area where one grew up was significant F(2, 126)=53.51, p=.000, R2=.459 with only ACEs being a significant predictor (p=.000). Another regression model examined ACEs, PEPC-SRQ-Rivalry, PEPC-SRQ-Agonism, geographical area and frequency of experienced behaviors in childhood to predict frequency of witnessed behaviors between children was significant F(5,123)=182.44, p=.000, R2=.881 with frequency of experienced behaviors in childhood (p=.000), PEPC-SRQ-Agonism (p=.002), and ACEs (p=.020) being significant predictors.
Despite issues of generalizability that could be addressed with a more diverse sample of parents, results indicate witnessed SV between children and experienced SV is related to geography, but less so when other factors like ACEs and prior experience of SV are taken into account. Results highlight the need to consider not only geographical location of where parents grew up, but also past experiences and attitudes on sibling interaction as these may influence how and if parents address and intervene when their children engage in SV behaviors.