This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Cultivating Closeness or Creating Distance: Domestic Violence Exposure and Sibling Relationship Quality




Lauricella, Danielle

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


Using family systems theory and Johnson’s typology of domestic violence (DV) exposure, this study sought to identify differences in sibling relationship quality depending on type of DV exposure (i.e., coercive controlling violence vs. situational couple violence vs. no DV exposure) by examining the experiences of 119 young adults. Additional analyses were conducted to determine if sibling relationship quality moderates the relationship between DV exposure and two internalizing symptoms (i.e., depression, posttraumatic stress symptoms). There were no statistically significant differences in overall sibling relationship quality by type of DV exposure, and sibling relationship quality did not moderate the relationship between DV exposure type, depression, and posttraumatic stress symptoms. However, moderate effect size differences were found between the situational couple violence exposed group and the not DV exposed group (d = 0.53). When comparing DV exposure type groups on each sibling relationship quality measure item, a few notable findings emerged. Young adults exposed to situational couple violence reported less enjoyment in spending time together with their siblings and felt their siblings were not as important in their adult life when compared to their not DV exposed and coercive controlling violence exposed counterparts. Practical implications and treatment options are discussed.