Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Wesley D. Allan


Childhood sibling aggression and its influence on an individual's ability to regulate emotions later in life have not been extensively studied at this point in time. Prior research indicates that repeatedly being the victim of childhood aggression can lead to concurrent social, psychological, and emotional difficulties (Crick, Bigbee, & Howes, 1996). This study used a retrospective approach to explore whether 139 college students' experiences of overt and relational childhood sibling aggression are related to current difficulties with emotion regulation in young adulthood. Overt sibling aggression or relational sibling aggression in childhood predicted difficulties in current emotion regulation. Beliefs about the acceptability of overt sibling aggression as well as parental passive nonintervention methods also predicted difficulties in emotion regulation. This study provides support for the importance of teaching parents who rely on passive nonintervention the use of more appropriate skills to manage sibling aggression as well as working with siblings to help them learn healthier ways of resolving conflicts that lead to more positive communication.