Association between parenthood status and sibling relationship quality in Finland

Antti O. Tanskanen & Mirkka Danielsbacka


Previous studies have shown that the existence of a third generation tends to influence family relations between adult children and their parents. However, there is a lack of studies investigating whether being a parent is associated with relationship quality between adult siblings. Using the Generational Transmissions in Finland survey (n = 1,530 younger adults), we investigate whether parenthood status is associated with sibling relationship quality measured by contact frequency, emotional closeness and conflicts. We found that females who are mothers themselves reported more contact with sisters compared to childless women. We also found signs of decreased likelihood of conflict among sisters with children. Fathers reported more contact than childless men with their childless sisters. In contrast, compared to childless men, fathers reported less contact and a lower level of emotional closeness to their brothers. The results are discussed with reference to shared reproductive interests between siblings with and without children.


Keywords: childlessness, Finland, parenthood, siblings