The Role of Siblings in the Transmission of Substance Use and Delinquency

Abigail Fagan, University of Queensland
Denise A. Durrington, University of Queensland

Sibling similarities in behavior have been demonstrated for drug use and delinquency. However, the mechanisms through and conditions under which the similarity of siblings' drug use and delinquency operate are unclear. Among other possibilities, sibling delinquency may be transmitted to a brother or sister via the acquisition of attitudes favorable to deviance and/or through the imitation of deviant behavior. This paper employs social learning theory to explore whether or not older siblings' attitudes towards and engagement in substance use and delinquency affect younger siblings' attitudes and benaviors. Analyses are based upon self-reported data from an Australian study of adolescent sibling pairs.

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Updated 05/20/2006