FITT Model: Impact on Sibling Relations

  • Summary
  • Assessment Measures
  • Interventions
  • References



Siblings can represent one of the most important long-term familial relationships. Studies on family violence, medical trauma, and economic stress suggest that positive sibling relationships can mediate the negative effects of these stressors and stress-related compromised parenting practices. However, highly conflictual or negative sibling relationships may be associated with more problem behaviors. Sibling relationships specifically, are affected by the quality of individual parent-child relationship dyads, differential treatment of siblings by parents, parental management of sibling conflict, individual children's behavior and emotional regulation and coping skills, and family norms regarding aggression and fairness (Brody, 1988). Commonly used child self-report measures of sibling relationships are: The Sibling Relationship Inventory (SRI) and the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ). These instruments provide assessments of parental affection, conflict/hostility, and sibling rivalry. Although sibling relationships are often addressed in family therapy sessions, specific sibling relationship interventions for families experiencing chronic poverty and trauma have yet to be developed and tested. Several support interventions have been developed to help siblings of children experiencing severe or terminal illness. These interventions generally provide support in the form of therapy and activities for children in group settings.


Assessment of Impact on the Sibling Relationship

Note: Sibling relationships can be important to the response and adaptation to trauma, however, no instruments were endorsed in this section.

Name of Instrument


Domains Assessed

Age Range

Source/Form (self report, observation, lab, other)

Number of items



Training Required

Where to Obtain

Psychometric Properties

Other comments

Sibling Relationship Questionnaire

Buhrmester & Furman, 1990

Measure includes 16 scales that represent four factors: warmth/closeness; status/power; conflict; and rivalry.

6-18 years

Self-report by child about one identified sibling

48 full

38 brief

10-15 minutes

Free, with permission

Familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation

Contact first author, Wyndol Furman:

Strong evidence for reliability and validity

Children are asked to indicate how prevalent on a scale of 1 to 5 various qualities are in their sibling relationship (e.g. how much do you and your sibling share with each other).

Sibling Relationship Inventory

Stocker & McHale, 1992

Three factor structure:  affection, hostility, and rivalry.

6-18 years



No time reported


Familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation

Contact first author, Clare Stocker:

Some evidence for reliability and validity


Conflict Tactic Scales - SP

Strauss, Hamby, Finkelhor, Boney-McCoy, & Sugarman, 1995

For use with children to describe conflict tactics with a sibling. Half items relate to respondents behavior towards sibling, half relate to siblings behavior towards respondent.

Children and teens

Self-report or interview format


10-15 minutes

Free, with permission

4-hour training workshop available, offered annually at a family violence conference. Also, familiarity w/administration, scoring guidelines, and interpretation.

Copyrighted, permission required for use. Information link: Click Here

Some evidence for reliability and validity




Buhrmester, D., & Furman, W. (1990). Perceptions of sibling relationships during middle childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 61, 1387-1398.


Furman, W. & Buhrmester, D. (1985). Children's perceptions of the qualities of sibling relationships. Child Development, 56, 448-461.


Stocker, C. M., & McHale, S. M. (1992). The nature and family correlates of preadolescents' perceptions of their sibling relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 9, 179-195.


Straus, M. A., Hamby, S. L., Finkelhor, D., Moore, D. W., & Runyan, D. (1995). Parent–Child Conflict Tactics Scales Form CTSPCCA. Durham, NH: Family Research Laboratory, University of New Hampshire.




Treatment Name



Essential Elements

Research Evidence & Outcomes

URL for Additional Information

Surviving Cancer Competently Program (SCCIP)

Kazak et al. (2004)

For children of siblings with cancer.  One-day, 4 session intervention using cognitive behavioral and family therapy approaches.

No reduction in PTS symptoms for siblings although some positive results for other family members

(Kazak et al., 2004)

Camp Okizu

Packman et al. (2004)

Week-long day camp for siblings of children with cancer that also offers traditional camp activities. Goal is to provide these siblings with “peer interaction to validate their feelings as normal in the context of serious illness in the family and to bolster their self-confidence and esteem”.

Statistically significant differences found for all sibling self-report measures. No significant group differences on demographic variables (sibling age, grade, ethnicity, mother or father education, or income).