Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 295–304 | Cite as

Sibling Conflict and Parental Discipline: The Mediating Role of Family Communication in Portuguese Adolescents

  • Inês Carvalho RelvaEmail author
  • Madalena Alarcão
  • Otília Monteiro Fernandes
  • Joana Carvalho
  • Angèle Fauchier


According to family systems theory, all family subsystems influence each other and are interdependent. This study examines the links among different parental discipline dimensions, family communication, and sibling conflict resolution. We administered the Dimensions of Discipline Inventory, The Family Communication Scale, and the Revised Conflict Tactics Scales—Sibling Version to a sample of 320 Portuguese adolescents. The results show that punitive discipline by mothers and fathers were associated with lower levels of family communication but with higher levels of psychological aggression toward siblings. Family communication played a different role for mother and fathers in the link between parents’ psychological aggression and corporal punishment and negotiation with siblings. These findings have implications for clinical interventions that may reduce sibling conflict.


Discipline Adolescents Siblings Conflict Communication 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education and PsychologyUniversity of Trás-Os-Montes e Alto DouroVila RealPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Psychology and Sciences of EducationUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  3. 3.Centre of Social Studies of University of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  4. 4.Department of Pediatrics, Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and NeglectUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA

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