Associations between family communication patterns, sibling closeness, and adoptive status

Diana R. Samek, Martha A. Rueter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Previous research has demonstrated the protective effect of family and sibling closeness on child adjustment, but fewer studies have investigated how closeness is promoted within families. Guided by Family Communication Patterns Theory, we tested the association between family communication and sibling emotional and behavioral closeness, and whether adoptive status moderated this relationship. Participating families included 616 adoptive and nonadoptive families with two adolescent children. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. Sibling closeness was highest in families that emphasized both conversation and conformity and lowest in families that emphasized only conversation or neither conversation nor conformity. Emotional and behavioral closeness were differentially associated with adoption status, sibling age, and sibling gender. Few moderating effects of adoption status were found. Post hoc analyses showed moderating effects of sibling gender composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1031
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Adolescence
  • Adoption
  • Communication
  • Family interaction


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