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A study of sibling relations: does having an older sibling impact on an individual’s goal orientated behaviour?

Al-Janabi, Zane (2018) A study of sibling relations: does having an older sibling impact on an individual’s goal orientated behaviour? Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Little is known about a sibling relationship within the psychology field. Family studies focus on dynamics such as birth-order, and family size, whilst neglecting individual’s perspectives and sibling relations. The role of sibling relationships and goal-orientated behaviour were the focus of this study. Three male and four female younger siblings’ attitudes were collected using semi-structured interviews. Participants were encouraged to talk about their own experience with having an older sibling whilst growing up. Four themes suggested having an older sibling motivates and deters goal-orientated behaviour. When an older sibling offers guidance and support towards a younger brother/sister, this acts as a motivator to maintain goal-orientated behaviour. Competition amongst siblings can lead to an individual developing an ‘avoiding goal-orientated behaviour’ due to feeling they may fail to achieve at the same standard as their sibling. Competition and high expectancy may also lead to developing ‘goal-orientated’ behaviour, as siblings may differentiate in the types of goals set, and direction in life, known as ‘Sibling De-individualisation’. Future research should focus on same sex sibling influences and oldest sibling perspective to build on research. Having an older sibling does impact an individual’s goal-orientated behaviour in a reinforcing or deterring manner depending on the relationship.

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