Destructive Sibling Conflict and the Development of

Conduct Problems in Young Boys

Monica M. Garcia, Daniel S. Shaw, Emily B. Winslow, and Kirsten E. Yaggi

University of Pittsburgh

Submitted January 28, 1998

This study is based on the first author's Masters thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh. Parts of this study were presented at the meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Washington, D.C. (April 1997). This research was funded in part by Grants Number MH50907 and MH46925 from the National Institute of Mental Health to the second author, and an NIH research supplement and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship to the first author. We would like to thank Susan Campbell, Joan Vondra, and Robert McCall for their assistance and comments; Erin Ingoldsby and Miles Gilliom for data collection and coding; and the participating families for their time and effort.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Monica M. Garcia, Department of Psychology, 604 Old Engineering Hall, 4015 O'Hara Street, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260. Electronic mail may be sent via Internet to



Little empirical work has explored the relation between destructive sibling conflict and conduct problems. This study used a measure of observed sibling conflict to examine relations with maternal and teacher report of conduct problems in a low-income sample of 180 five-year-old boys and their close-age siblings. Early report of behavior problems and rejecting parenting were added to the analyses to control for these predictors and to examine interactive effects. Destructive sibling conflict was directly related to the CBCL Delinquency factor longitudinally, and the interaction between sibling conflict and rejecting parenting predicted aggressive behavior problems across time and informants. Results are discussed in terms of Patterson's theory of coercion and additive risk models.