The Associations Among Sibling and Peer-Bullying, Social Support and Internalizing Behaviors

Samantha Coyle, Michelle K. Demaray, Christine K. Malecki, Jaclyn E. Tennant, Jacqueline Klossing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Peer bullying is associated with internalizing problems for children and adolescents. However, less is known about how these same behaviors are related to student well-being when they occur within the context of the sibling relationship and how supportive behavior may benefit those experiencing bullying. Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the unique associations among peer and sibling bullying and internalizing problems, and the role of peer and sibling social support in relation to social-emotional outcomes. Methods: Data on students’ experiences of peer and sibling bullying, perceptions of social support and internalizing symptoms were collected from a sample of 372 elementary school students using the Revised Olweus Bully/Victim Questionnaire (OBVQ; Olweus 1996), a modified version of the OBVQ created to assess bullying by siblings, the Child and Adolescent Social Support Scale (CASSS; Malecki et al. 2000), and three subscales from the Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition, Self-Report of Personality (Reynolds and Kamphaus 2004). Results: Results indicated that Sibling Bullying was significantly related to internalizing problems above and beyond Peer Bullying alone. Additionally, social support from peers moderated the association between Sibling Bullying and Depression; and social support from siblings moderated the association between Peer Bullying and Social Stress. Gender differences in study findings were also uncovered. Conclusions: Results of this study suggest that bullying behaviors are detrimental to student social-emotional well-being, regardless of whom the perpetrator may be, and that being bullied by siblings is associated with similar outcomes as traditional bullying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-922
Number of pages28
JournalChild and Youth Care Forum
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Bullying
  • Internalizing problems
  • Peer relations
  • Sibling relations
  • Social support


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