Sibling influences on adolescent substance use: The role of modeling, collusion, and conflict

Sabina Low, Joann Wu Shortt, James Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The longitudinal associations of older sibling substance use as well as dyadic sibling conflict and collusion to younger sibling substance use were examined in a community-based sample of 244 same-sex sibling pairs. Indirect effects of older siblings on younger sibling substance use were hypothesized via younger sibling deviant peer affiliation and conflict with friends. Adolescents, parents, friends, and teachers completed measures of substance use, conflict, and deviant peer involvement. Observational data were used for both measures of collusion and conflict. Findings suggest that older sibling substance use has a direct effect on younger sibling use, but relationship dynamics and reinforcement played a significant role as well. Specifically, collusion and conflict in the sibling relationship both had indirect effects through younger siblings' deviant peer affiliation. Findings validate the powerful socializing role of both siblings and peers, and elucidate the complex mechanisms through which socialization occurs. Furthermore, data underscore the importance of considering how multiple dimensions of socialization operate in the elaboration of antisocial behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-300
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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