Sibling Influence: The Moderating Effects of Sibling Social Status

Open Access
Wallace, Lacey Nicole
Graduate Program:
Crime, Law and Justice
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
February 21, 2014
Committee Members:
  • D Wayne Osgood, Dissertation Advisor
  • Derek Allen Kreager, Committee Member
  • Alan Booth, Committee Member
  • Julie Horney, Committee Member
  • Mark E Feinberg, Special Member
  • social status
  • delinquency
  • siblings
  • families
This dissertation examines sibling social status as a moderator of sibling influence for delinquency and substance use in adolescence. Namely, I test whether siblings with higher outdegree, indegree, or reach in the school social network have more influence than those with lower measures of social status. Drawing on existing literature, I then assess how sibling dyad gender composition, sibling age gap, and number of siblings affect this core relationship. Lastly, I conduct exploratory analyses using social status as an outcome to evaluate whether and how sibling behavior, sibling social status, and mutual peers affect our own standing in the social network. Similar analyses are conducted using data from two longitudinal datasets: PROSPER and Add Health. HLM and APIM models are used to account for nesting of individuals within sibling dyads, genetic relatedness, and reciprocal influence of one sibling on another. Results show that sibling influence is indeed greater when siblings have higher social status. This is further pronounced for siblings of the same gender and, to some extent, close in age. Sibling behavior and social status do not emerge as statistically significant predictors of one’s own social status. However, the presence and number of mutual peers are both associated with increases in our own social status, even after controlling for our social standing in a prior wave. Genetics account for little, if any, variation in these social processes. Limitations, implications, and directions for future research are discussed in the concluding chapter.