Young adults' retrospective reports of family cohesion, parental differential treatment, and sibling relationships. By: Zhou, Weimiao and Woszidlo, Alesia. 2024. Family Relations. Vol. 73 Issue 2, p1067-1085.

Objective: Using young adults’ retrospective reports, the current study examines the moderating effects of parental differential treatment (PDT) on the association between family cohesion and sibling relationship quality during adolescence. Background: Sibling relationships in adolescence carry great implications for individual development. However, little is known about the potential interactions between family cohesion and PDT on sibling affection and hostility. Method: Retrospective data were collected from 325young adults (M = 19.50 years, SD = 1.25) who recalled family of origin experiences with parents and a target sibling closest to their age. Results: Family cohesion was positively associated with sibling affection and negatively associated with sibling hostility. Additionally, fathers’ differential control attenuated the relationship between cohesion and sibling affection and both mothers’ and fathers’ differential affection attenuated the relationship between cohesion and sibling hostility. Conclusion: Findings on the main effects suggest that perceived family cohesion is a crucial factor that promotes better sibling relationships (i.e., higher affection andlower hostility). However, offspring’s perceptions of PDT can affect the relationship between family cohesion and sibling relationship quality, such that extreme levels of parents’ (especially fathers’) differential affection and control weaken the association. The significant moderation emerged with differences in parental sex (i.e., mother and father) and PDT dimensions (i.e., affection and control). Implications: To help siblings engage in more affectionate and fewer hostile interactions, parents (especially fathers)should consciously work to provide equal treatment toward their offspring and work on providing more contextual information when they have to show differentiation.