Types of Sibling Aggression and Abuse

Sibling fight

For the sake of clarity, we provide definitions of the range of aggressive acts that characterize sibling aggression and abuse.


Mild physical aggression: hit, beaten, or attacked without an object and no injury resulted

Property aggression forcible taking, items stolen, vandalism.

Psychological aggression: child felt bad or scared because he/she was called names, told mean things, or told the sibling/peer did not want him/her around.

Severe physical aggression: hit, beaten, or attacked with an object and/or injury resulted.


Abuse: an ongoing pattern of aggression by a sibling with more power that causes evident harm or a strong likelihood of harm.

Sexual abuse: sexual activities with a sibling that are unwanted or involve a considerable developmental or age difference.