Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Program or Major


Faculty Advisor

Regina Kuersten-Hogan


Past research suggests that children’s sibling relationships play an important role in their friendships, though much less is known about these linkages during adulthood. The purpose of this study was to explore whether the quality of young adults’ sibling relationships is associated with the quality of their non-romantic friendships. A sample of fifty-nine Undergraduate students who were predominantly white and female and attending a small liberal arts college reported on their perceptions of their sibling and friendship relationship quality as well as their attachment orientation and personality characteristics. Findings indicated that young adults’ sibling relationship quality was associated with the number of friends they reported in high school and with certain aspects of their relationship quality with friends. Specifically, the nurturance, reassurance of worth, social integration, and guidance young adults perceived in their relationships with their siblings were associated with these same relationship qualities in their non-romantic friendships. Furthermore, young adults with and without siblings did not differ in their friendship harmony. Attachment security and personality characteristics played important roles for the harmony and conflict young adults reported in their sibling relationships as well as for their friendship harmony. This study was one of the first to explore how young adults’ experiences with their siblings relate to the nature of friendships they form before and during their transition to college. In contrast to prior research with children and adolescents, linkages between sibling and friendship relationship harmony during the early adulthood stage did not appear to be as strong suggesting that perhaps the unique social environment in college overshadows the impact siblings have on friendships for those with secure attachment orientations and positive personality characteristics.

Included in

Psychology Commons