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Soc Sci Med. 2013 Nov;96:208-13. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.07.016. Epub 2013 Aug 9.

Advancing our understanding of sibling supervision and injury risk for young children.

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Department of Psychology, University of Guelph, Canada N1G 2W1. Electronic address:


Sibling supervision has been shown to increase the risk of supervisee's unintentional injury in the home. Both poorer supervision by the older sibling and noncompliance by the younger sibling have been shown to contribute to this risk. Previous studies have shown that informing older siblings that they are responsible for the behavior of their younger sibling improves their supervision. The present study, conducted in Canada, examined whether informing both children the older child is in charge would improve both older sibling supervisory practices and compliance by the younger child. Younger and older siblings were initially placed in a room containing contrived hazards, and their interactions were unobtrusively recorded. In a second contrived hazards room, both children were then informed that the older sibling was in charge, and the supervisor was privately told not to let the supervisee touch hazardous objects. Results revealed that sibling supervisors showed improved supervision but supervisee behavior did not vary across conditions. Implications for injury prevention and future research directions are discussed.


Canada; Child compliance; Child injury risk; Contrived hazards room; Sibling supervision

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