Sibling Aggression and Abuse Research and Advocacy Initiative (SAARA)

Brothers fighting in Leaves

Sibling aggression is the most common form of family violence.  While peer bullying and peer victimization are widely recognized, more children are actually victimized by a sibling.1 National surveys show that about one-third of children age 0-17 experienced sibling aggression in the past year including: hitting, biting, kicking, with or without injury, repeated name calling, intimidation, harassment, and property destruction.2

Sibling aggression and abuse, sometimes referred to as sibling bullying, violence, perpetration, and victimization, are often unrecognized and equated to sibling rivalry or benign normal behavior.3,4 Some is of minor consequence, but much has negative developmental impact. Numerous studies have linked sibling aggression and abuse to worse mental and physical health and problematic interpersonal relationships with parents, peers, and romantic partners.5-11

The Sibling Aggression and Abuse Research and Advocacy Initiative will promote awareness of sibling aggression and abuse and provide guidance for how to prevent and reduce their occurrences. 

 

This initiative grows out of calls for increased awareness of sibling victimization given its pervasiveness and harmfulness.

 

 

1 Finkelhor, D., Turner, H.A., Shattuck A., & Hamby, S. (2015). Prevalence of childhood exposure to violence, crime and abuse: Results from the National Survey Children’s Exposure to Violence. Pediatrics, 169, 746-754.  

2 Tucker, C.J., Finkelhor, D., Shattuck, A., & Turner, H. (2013). Prevalence and correlates of

                sibling victimization types. Child Abuse & Neglect, 37, 213-223.

3 Tucker, C. & Kazura, K. (2013). Parental responses to sibling conflict of school-aged children. Journal of Child & Family Studies, 22, 737-745.

4 Caspi, J. (2012). Sibling aggression: Assessment and treatment. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.

5 Bowes, L., Wolke, D., Joinson, C., Lereya, S.T. & Lewis, G. (2014) Sibling bullying and risk of depression, anxiety and self-harm: A prospective cohort study. Pediatrics, 134, 1-8.

6Caffaro, J.V. (2014). Sibling abuse trauma: Assessement and intervention strategies for children, families, and adults. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing Co.

7Tucker, C.J., Finkelhor, D., & Turner, H. (2019). Patterns of sibling victimization as predictors of peer victimization in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Family Violence.

8Tucker, C.J., Finkelhor, D., & Turner, H. (2020). Family and friend social support as mediators of adolescent sibling victimization and mental health, self-esteem, and delinquency. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 90, 703-711.

9Tucker, C.J., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Shattuck, A. (2013). Association of sibling aggression

 with child and adolescent mental health. Pediatrics, 132, 79-84.

10Tucker, C.J., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Shattuck, A. (2014). Sibling and peer victimization in childhood and adolescence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 38, 1599-1606.

11Tucker, C.J., Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., & Shattuck, A. (2015). Family dynamics and young children’s sibling victimization. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 625-633.