Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 1218–1233 | Cite as

Older Siblings as Academic Socialization Agents for Younger Siblings: Developmental Pathways across Adolescence

  • Ming-Te WangEmail author
  • Jessica L. Degol
  • Jamie L. Amemiya
Empirical Research


The role of older siblings in younger siblings’ academic socialization becomes increasingly salient during adolescence. This longitudinal study examines the developmental mechanisms through which older siblings shape younger siblings’ academic outcomes and whether older siblings’ peer affiliations predict younger siblings’ educational aspirations and attainment. Data consisted of responses from 395 target adolescents (Mage = 12.22 years, 48.9% female; 51.6% African American, 38.5% European American) and their older siblings (Mage = 14.65 years, 50.1% female) across nine years. The findings showed that older siblings’ affiliation with academically disengaged peers at 7th grade predicted younger siblings’ decreased affiliation with academically engaged peers and increased affiliation with disengaged peers at 9th grade. In addition, younger siblings’ affiliation with academically engaged peers predicted greater educational aspirations at 11th grade, which in turn were related to higher postsecondary educational attainment. The identification of developmental processes through which older siblings were associated with younger siblings’ academic success may aid in creating supportive social environments in which adolescents can thrive.


Siblings Family context Peer affiliation Educational attainment Academic engagement Academic socialization 


Authors’ Contributions

M.-T.W. conceived of the study (i.e., study questions, study design, result interpretation), participated in the literature review, and drafted the introduction, literature review, and discussion sections; J.L.D. drafted the literature review and part of the discussion and provided feedback on the full draft; J.L.A. performed the data analysis, participated in the interpretation of the data, and drafted the method and result sections. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Data Sharing and Declaration

The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

The study protocol was approved by the University of Helsinki Ethical Review Board in the Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Informed Consent

Participation was voluntary, and informed consent forms were collected from both the adolescents and their parents.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ming-Te Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jessica L. Degol
    • 2
  • Jamie L. Amemiya
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Penn State AltoonaAltoonaUSA

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