Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of Communication Studies
Christina Yoshimura, Paul Silverman
divorce, RIT, siblings, turning points
University of Montana
Most previous research on children’s adjustment following the divorce of their parents has focused on the consequences of parents’ actions and communication choices. Relatively little is known about the impact that sibling relationships have on post-divorce adjustment. The current study was designed to explore the relationship between sibling social support (emotional, instrumental, and informational support) and adjustment. Data was collected from 34 participants using the Retrospective Interview Technique (RIT). Participants identified key turning points in their adjustment process and used those points as an interview guide to talk about support from and communication with their siblings. Numerical questionnaire data was also collected at three turning points. Findings revealed 12 categories of turning points, of which “Move,” “Change in family composition,” “Change in contact with non-residential parent,” “Intrapsychic change,” and “Change in parent relationship status” were the most frequently reported. Five trajectories of adjustment were also found, namely “Steady,” “Interrupted,” “Stagnating,” “Turbulent,” and “Declining.” From the interview data, examples of social support and communication topics were assessed. Social support was evident in the forms of emotional, instrumental, informational, and perceived support as were more implicit categories like “time together” and “common cause.” Conversation topics included parent relationships, the effect of the divorce on other family members, making sense of the divorce, and opinions. From the support and communication data, 7 sibling types were proposed. Siblings who gave equal support to each other fell into the categories of “Separates,” “Pals,” “Allies,” and “Opponents.” Relationships where one sibling offered more support than the other were categorized as “Parent,” “Protector,” and “Encourager.” Statistically, no relationship was found between sibling support and adjustment, although relationships between parent support and adjustment were found. Explanations and implications are proposed.
Jacobs, Kimberly Ann, "The Influence of Sibling Support on Children's Post-Divorce Adjustment: A Turning Point Analysis" (2009). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 1031.
© Copyright 2009 Kimberly Ann Jacobs