The sibling relationship has an important impact on children’s emotional functioning, but it is yet unclear whether and how sibling relationship quality affects adolescent depressive symptoms over time. This study contributes to existing knowledge by examining the relative importance of three aspects of sibling relationship quality (i.e., support, conflict and power balance) on the one hand and sibling depressive symptoms on the other hand in predicting adolescent depressive symptoms over time. Additionally, this study examined whether these influence patterns were moderated by perceived sibling relationship quality and by dyadic gender composition. Across six annual waves, 412 Dutch adolescents (57% boys; M age = 12.34 years) and their older siblings (47% boys; M age = 15.36 years) reported on depressive symptoms and sibling relationship quality. Cross-lagged panel analyses showed that only sibling depressive symptoms and not perceived relationship quality predicted adolescent depressive symptoms one year later. This effect was not moderated by sibling relationship quality or gender composition. These results indicate that sibling depressive symptoms may be a risk factor for adolescent depressive symptoms.
- Depressive symptoms
- Sibling relationship quality