Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry can be defined as competition between blood- or non-blood-related siblings based on jealousy or perceived lack of resources. The rivalry between siblings can occur regardless of gender or age as well as the age difference between siblings. This entry provides a brief overview of important studies associated with sibling rivalry, how sibling rivalry can manifest, and the positive and negative consequences of rivalry between siblings. The conception and understanding of sibling rivalry discussed here, it must be noted, arise from research on, and within, modern Western/Global North societies.

The theoretical understanding of sibling rivalry began in the early 1900s with the work of Alfred Adler, a proponent of the psychoanalytic movement. Central to Adler’s ideas on individual psychology is the inferiority complex, which posits ...

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