Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 684–692 | Cite as

Chinese Mothers’ Sibling Status, Perceived Supportive Coparenting, and their Children’s Sibling Relationships

  • Bin-Bin ChenEmail author
Original Paper



Parents’ experiences as siblings have received little attention from family psychologists. This study examined whether Chinese mothers’ sibling status—growing up with or without siblings—played a role in the quality of their children’s sibling relationships. It also tested whether the association between mothers’ sibling status and children’s sibling relationships was moderated by supportive coparenting. The research goal was to provide preliminary evidence relevant to the importance of parents’ sibling experiences on their children’s sibling relationships.


The sample comprised 167 two-child families in Shanghai, China. Mothers (M = 34.5 years old; 55.1% of mothers without siblings) completed questionnaires assessing supportive coparenting and the quality of their children’s sibling relationships.


The results indicated that there were differences in the quality of sibling relationships among children whose mothers grew up with siblings and their counterparts whose mothers grew up without siblings. Specifically, the former had sibling relationships characterized by more positive involvement, but less conflict, rivalry and avoidance than the latter. In addition, supportive coparenting was positively related to positive sibling involvement and—in children of mothers without siblings—negatively related to both sibling conflict and sibling avoidance.


These findings enhance understanding of how mothers’ experiences as siblings may have a role in their children’s sibling relationships.


Sibling relationship Sibling status Only child Coparenting China 



This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31500901), Education Project for Young Scholar, Shanghai Planning Project of Philosophy and Social Sciences, China (B1701), and the Research Fund of the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University. And it was a part of the project “Social transition and sociological theory” founded by the “Double-First Class” plan of social science development of Fudan University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional (Fudan University) and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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