Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Education and Human Services


Family and Child Studies

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Caspi

Committee Member

Pearl Stewart

Committee Member

Tiffany L. Brown


Research has found that experiencing discrimination is linked to a plethora of mostly negative individual and relational consequences. While a few studies have focused on its impact on interpersonal relationships including marital and parent-child relationships, none have explored its impact on sibling relationships. Siblings play a major role in individual development (Dunn & Plomin, 1991; Sulloway, 1996; Whiteman, Bernard & Jensen, 2011) and positive sibling relationships have been found to act as a buffer to environmental stressors (Gass, Jenkins & Dunn, 2007; Jacobs & Sillars, 2012). The aim of this study was to examine how siblings manage, utilize and are impacted by discrimination experiences. Methods: Qualitative methods were utilized. Face-to-face, semi-structured, interviews were completed with a convenience sample of 11. Interviews were transcribed, coded and examined for common themes and subthemes using the constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Findings: A major finding was that positive sibling relationships, but not negative relationships, provided an important source of support. Emotional support and advice giving were utilized most often. Participant responses were organized by the choice of whether or not to share their discrimination experiences with siblings. Subthemes were identified for both sharing and not-sharing. Implications for future research, family practitioners, counselors, program developers, schools, and parenting, are considered.

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