The Importance of Sibling Relationships in Buffering Against Depressive Symptoms of Youth in Foster Care

Lenore M. McWey, Ming Cui, Armeda Stevenson Wojciak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sibling relationships are among the most influential relationships of one’s life. For youth in foster care, sibling relationships may be particularly important. Using National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) II data, this study tested if higher sibling relationship quality was associated with lower depressive symptoms among youth in foster care, and the interactive effects of relationships with siblings and biological mothers on youth depressive symptoms. Results indicated higher sibling and mother relationship quality were associated with lower depressive symptoms. Regarding interactive associations, the protective effects of sibling relationships on youth depressive symptoms were stronger when youth reported lower levels of relationship quality with biological mothers, highlighting the importance of good sibling relationships, especially in the absence of a positive relationship with biological mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFamilies in Society
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R03HD099424. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2022.


  • child welfare
  • depression
  • family systems and functioning
  • foster care
  • mental health and differential diagnoses
  • sibling relationships
  • subjects of practice


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