Does sibling similarity predict relationship quality in Finland? A two-generational investigation

Antti O. Tanskanen

Abstract

Similarity is often assumed to associate with better relationship quality between siblings, but evidence of this has been scarce and mixed. Using the Generational Transmissions in Finland surveys collected in 2012, we employed within-sibling regressions and examined whether sibling similarity is associated with relationship quality in older (born 1945–1950) and younger (born 1962–1993) generations. Sibling similarity was measured by gender, age, financial condition and parenthood status similarity and relationship quality by contact frequency, emotional closeness, practical help and conflict. The effect of resemblance tends to vary between different sibling similarity indicators, relationship quality measures and generations. In both generations, same-gender dyads had more contact, practical help and were emotionally closer than mixed-gender dyads. Similarity was more often associated with increased relationship quality in the younger than the older generation. The results are discussed with reference to life course and support exchange perspectives.
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