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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political Sciences

New film highlights our research into sibling bonds

Published: 31 May 2012

A study that investigated the impact of our relationships with our brothers and sisters has been featured in a new film.

Project lead, Rosalind Edwards, Professor of Sociology at the University, was interviewed for the Economic and Social Research Council’s Seven Days of Social Research initiative. The ESRC is showcasing, via film, the best studies they have funded in recent years.

For the research, Rosalind and her team interviewed 50 children aged between five and eight, and revisited them over an eight year period. The team gauged changes in the children’s view of their relationship with their brothers and sisters.

“Our sibling ties are really important and are often the longest relationships of our lives, so we they have a fundamental importance to us, and yet this is not something we really explore in modern culture”, said Professor Rosalind Edwards .

She added: “Our research, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, looked at how these relationships change with time, and how they affect our lives.”

The research team found that brothers and sisters are important in enabling a person to understand what it is to be male and female, and to help comprehend the experience of secondary school. Plus, elder siblings also demonstrated protectiveness, while younger siblings could be very caring to their elder brother or sister.

The research is part of the ‘Timescapes Qualitative Longitudinal Study’, an archive that holds information from a number of research projects about relationships along the lifecourse, drawn from across the UK.

To view the film about Siblings and Friends: The Changing Nature of Children’s Lateral Relationships

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