3 years ago

Half‐Sibling and Stepsibling Relationships: A Systematic Integrative Review

Caroline Sanner, Marilyn Coleman, Lawrence Ganong, Luke T. Russell


Increases in divorce, remarriage, and stepfamily formation have added complexity to sibling composition. Biological siblings have been found to be key players in children's lives, and relationships with half and stepsiblings also likely influence individual development and adjustment. In this systematic integrative review, we synthesize and critique 46 studies on half and stepsibling relationships, a literature that has seen marked growth in recent years. Researchers have focused predominately on two areas: individual outcomes associated with having half or stepsiblings and predictors of half and stepsibling relationship quality. Although research designs have become more methodologically sophisticated, deficit‐comparison studies in which half and stepsiblings are compared to siblings in nuclear families remain common. We discuss challenges in studying sibling complexity and propose opportunities for examining how half and stepsibling relationships may contribute to individual and family resilience.

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