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2018 | 56(14) | 155-172

Article title

Aggression between siblings – the dark side of socialization in the family


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Aggression between siblings is one of the most common – and the most downplayed – forms of aggression in the family. It is seen as natural and harmless. In fact, research has shown that such aggression leaves lasting scars in the child’s mind and affects functioning in adult life. Objective: investigate correlations between the perceived quality of the family environment, the experience of aggression in the family, including aggression between siblings, and the level of aggression in adult life. Method: 201 respondents – 167 women and 34 men, aged 19–36 years – took part in the study. To measure the variables under analysis, the respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire designed for this study, which included questions about aggression and violence between parents, parental aggression towards children, and the use of punishment in parenting; the Family Assessment Scale (FACES-IV) by David H. Olson, adapted by Andrzej Margasiński (2009, 2015); and the Aggression Questionnaire by Buss and Perry (1992), adapted by Aranowska, Rytel and Szmar (2005). Results: experience of domestic violence was shown to be related to the assessment of family functioning along four dimensions: cohesion, flexibility, communication and satisfaction. The data also showed that aggression was engendered by models of aggression, that is, by observing aggression between parents and by experiencing parental (especially paternal) violence. Unexpectedly, punishment turned out to be significantly correlated with all dimensions of family assessment – it was positively correlated with each of the manifestations of aggression under analysis. It was also demonstrated that while certain types of punishment were associated with specific manifestations of aggression (e.g. physical punishment with physical aggression, reprimands with verbal aggression, etc.), one type of punishment – screaming/threats/ insults – was significantly correlated with each of the analysed dimensions of aggression and was the only one associated with the tendency to react with aggression in relations with siblings.





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