Christine T. Chambers1, Meghan Schinkel1, Penny Corkum1
Background and Aims: The study examined the relation between sibling relationship quality and siblings’ behaviour during a pediatric pain task. Methods: 92 sibling dyads ages 8-12-years-old completed individual questionnaires examining sibling relationship quality, a dyadic problem-solving task, and took turns completing the cold-pressor task (CPT) with their sibling present. Sibling relationship quality was coded for positivity and negativity during the problem-solving task, and the behaviour of the observing and participating siblings during the CPT were coded as attending (e.g., symptom talk), non-attending (e.g., distraction), and coping/encouragement behaviour. Results: Structural equation modelling, including actor-partner interdependence model analyses, was conducted. Greater levels of warmth/closeness reported by the sibling who completed the CPT first was related to their own greater levels of non-attending behaviours while participating in the CPT (b*=.23, p<.05). Greater levels of conflict reported by the sibling who completed the CPT first was marginally related to their sibling (i.e., the second participating sibling) engaging in fewer coping behaviours while completing the CPT (b*=-.14, p=.05). Greater levels of coded positivity was related to the sibling who completed the CPT second engaging in fewer attending behaviours (b*=-.22, p<.05), and greater non-attending behaviours (b*=.31, p<.01) while completing the CPT. Lastly, greater levels of coded negativity was related to the first participating sibling engaging in greater levels of attending behaviours (b*=.24, p<.05), and the second participating sibling engaging in fewer attending behaviours (b*=-.23, p<.05) while completing the CPT. Conclusions: The quality of children’s sibling relationship was related to their behaviour while they were in pain with their sibling present. Siblings with more positivity/warmth in their relationship tended to engage in more helpful behaviours while in pain.
Acknowledgements: Grants include a CIHR Doctoral Research Award, Society of Pediatric Psychology Marion and Donald Routh Student Research Grant, and The Psychology Foundation of Canada Student Research Grant.