Science University Research Symposium (SURS)

Publication Date



Sciences and Mathematics, College of


Psychological Science, Department of

SURS Faculty Advisor

Abigail Heller

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Nuclear family relationships are some of the first and most foundational to an individual (Steinberg, 2023). Sibling relationships have an impact on the way an adolescent develops, regardless of birth order or sibling status, which influences the way the adolescent thinks and behaves (Feinburg et al., 2012). A negative sibling relationship can lead to issues such as school conduct problems, substance abuse, and low self-esteem (Feinberg et al., 2012). Friendships also play an important role in quality of life and social well-being of emerging adults. A high-quality friendship is defined by high levels of prosocial behavior, intimacy, and other positive features, and low levels of conflicts, rivalry, and other negative features (Berndt, 2002). Studies have shown that friendships involving at least one woman tend to be more intimate (Aukett et al., 1988), that women value their relationships more highly than men, and that women’s friendships involve more intimacy, self-disclosure, and emotional support than those with men (Cross & Madson, 1997; Fehr, 2004; Reis, 1998). Connecting these concepts to adolescents, a study found that younger female adolescents self-reported more prosocial support in their same-sex relationships, while adolescent boys reported receiving more esteem support from their cross-sex friends (Kuttler et al., 2010). Regarding a connection between siblings and friendships, longitudinal studies have shown that adolescents who perceived their sibling relationships more positively tended to have better friendships (Yeh & Lempers, 2004). The purpose of our study was to examine the relationship between the number/type of siblings and quality of friendships with women. Emerging adult college students (N = 45) filled out a survey on Qualtrics that measured demographics, number and type of siblings, and friendship quality with women. Results indicated no correlation between the number of siblings (overall or within gendered subcategories) and the quality of relationships with women. Results of a one-way ANOVA showed no difference in friendship quality between participants with no siblings, those with only brothers, those with only sisters, and those with a combination of brothers and sisters. Results did not support any influence on sibling structure for future friendships with women in emerging adulthood.



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