Identity development: The links between coping style, sibling relationships, and parenting style

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Jaipual Roopnarine


Adolescence, Coping, Identity development, Sibling, Parenting

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Social Psychology


Adolescent identity development is a period of exploration of the self. The influence of parents, and peers has been well documented. This study explored the relationship among dimensions of the adolescent's perceptions of the sibling relationship, individual coping style, the adolescent's perceptions of the parenting style, and identity development.

Eighty-two, male and female adolescents, ages 12-15, from two-parent families with only one older sibling were studied. Each subject completed the Adolescent Coping Orientation Problem Experiences Questionnaire, the Brother-Sister Questionnaire, the Ego Identity Process Questionnaire, and the Parental Authority Questionnaire. The literature provided evidence for a model involving parental, sibling and individual coping variables in the identity development process.

The data were examined in two separate analyses. First, the relationships between parenting style, gender of sibling and subject, birth order, adaptive coping style and dimensions of the sibling relationship were examined using hierarchical regressions. There were significant associations between authoritative parenting and sibling empathy, similarity and coercion, authoritarian parenting and sibling similarity, gender of the subject and adaptive coping style, and gender of sibling and sibling empathy. In a second model, selected parenting and sibling relationship variables were regressed on identity development. This latter analysis showed that parenting style and adaptive coping style were significantly associated with identity exploration and commitment. Because both parenting style and adaptive coping style were linked to identity development, partial correlations were computed between parenting style and identity development controlling for the effects of the sibling relationship and adaptive coping style. These partial correlations suggest that the influence of parenting on identity development may be mediated through the sibling relationship and adaptive coping style.

The results of the current study are discussed with respect to the direct/indirect influence of parenting styles on adolescent identity development.


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