Exploring Sibling Relationships in Latino/a/x Immigrant Families

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Virginia Tech


Siblings are the longest lasting relationships most individuals may experience in their life. What makes sibling relationships unique is the overlap of both shared and unshared experiences. While there is limited research on the mechanisms behind sibling relationships in general, research on Latino/a/x sibling relationships is even more limited. The limited research on Latino/a/x siblings from immigrant families has found they have an impact on each other's cultural adaptations. The current study explored the influence of the acculturation cultural adaptation processes to the U.S. and how this adaptation may impact Latino/a/x sibling relationships. Semi-structured dyadic interviews were conducted with eight sibling dyads (N = 8) and dyadic analysis methods from Tkachuk et al. (2019) were used to analyze the qualitative data. The findings suggest that the sibling relationship is influenced by parental and cultural expectations, unique experiences pertaining to growing up (e.g., sibling positionality), and their shared experiences of growing up in the United States (i.e., shared cultural navigation). Findings regarding the importance of family are congruent with current literature on Latino/a/x immigrant families and a new finding that emerged related to the validation of younger siblings on the experiences of the older siblings. Clinical implications suggest clinicians familiarizing themselves with cross-cultural sibling relationships and the benefits of having siblings in therapy. Limitations and recommendations for future study are discussed.



Latino/a/x, siblings, acculturation, familism, cultural navigation