First Advisor

Tom Keller

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Social Work and Social Research


Social Work




Brothers and sisters -- Family relationships, Child rearing, Parenting -- Psychological aspects, Parent and child -- Psychological aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 135 p.) : ill.


Parental differential treatment (PDT), the within-family differences in parenting experienced by siblings (Rivers & Stoneman, 2008), has been linked to detrimental adjustment outcomes for children (e.g., Conger & Conger, 1994). The primary goal of this research was to more closely examine how differential treatment in two domains of parent-child relations-displays of warmth and hostility- were associated with child outcomes. A secondary data analysis was conducted on a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) of a parent training intervention. Participants in this sample were high risk children and families, and they were randomly assigned to one of three groups: an intensive parent training program, the parent training program plus a sibling intervention, or the community control group. Data were collected by multiple methods and from multiple reporting agents. Using baseline data from children (both older and younger siblings), mothers, observers and teachers, this study examined PDT agreement across two or more informants and whether PDT agreement was linked to child outcomes and also explored the extent to which these PDT domains were associated with both older and younger sibling's antisocial behavior. Using data collected at baseline and conclusion of the intervention from multiple informants, the study investigated whether the parenting intervention moderated the effect of PDT and the extent to which PDT was malleable. Agreement across two or more reporting agents of high PDT, especially for PDT-Hostility, was associated with worse outcomes for those children compared to children in the more egalitarian group. This research replicated previous studies in demonstrating that PDT is associated with negative child outcomes in some circumstances even when controlling for other child factors. The results from exploratory analyses in this study do not provide support for the idea that PDT is altered after participation in a parenting intervention; however, the findings do provide some evidence that the intervention moderates PDT. Specifically, negative PDT directed at the older sibling was more likely to be associated with negative outcomes in the absence of the intervention. Potential explanations for these findings are presented, and implications for future research are discussed.


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Portland State University. Social Work and Social Research Ph. D. Program

Persistent Identifier