Family Complexity, Siblings, and Children’s Aggressive Behavior at School Entry

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Paula Fomby

Monday, 9/22/2014.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

Paula Fomby is the primary author on this paper with Joshua Goode and Stefanie Mollborn, both with the University of Colorado Boulder.

As family structure in the United States has become increasingly dynamic and complex, children have become more likely to reside with step- or half-siblings through a variety of pathways. These pathways include living with one's biological parents and half-siblings who were born in one parent's prior union; with an unpartnered parent and at least one half-sibling from that parent's earlier or later union; or with a stepparent and step- or half-siblings in a parent's new union. When these family structures are accounted for, more than one in six children in the United States lives with a step- or half-sibling at age 4. We use data from a nationally-representative birth cohort of U.S. children to assess the independent and joint influence of residing with a single parent or stepparent and with step or half-siblings on children's aggressive behavior at school entry. We draw on a resource-based perspective to explain why the presence of step- or half-siblings might be associated with children's aggressive behavior. The influences of parents' union status and sibship status on aggressive behavior are independent and additive. Resources partially explain the association between residing with an unpartnered mother and aggressive behavior regardless of sibship status. However, the resource hypothesis does not explain the association of sibship status with aggressive behavior.

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