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Enhancing sibling relationships to prevent adolescent problem behaviors: Theory, design and feasibility of Siblings Are Special


  • Feinberg, Mark E.
  • Sakuma, Kari-Lyn
  • Hostetler, Michelle
  • McHale, Susan M.


Siblings play a significant but neglected role in family socialization dynamics, and focusing on the sibling relationship is a non-stigmatizing point of entry into the family for prevention programming. Siblings are Special (SAS) was designed as a universal program that targets both sibling relationship and parenting mediating processes in middle childhood to prevent behavior problems in adolescence. We describe the theoretical framework underlying SAS, the SAS curriculum, and the feasibility of the program based on a study of 128 middle-childhood aged sibling dyads. Data on the quality of program implementation, program fidelity, siblings’ engagement, and ratings of impact indicated the SAS program was acceptable to families and schools, that the curriculum could be implemented with high fidelity, that siblings and parents participated at high levels and were highly engaged, and that, from the perspective of group leaders, school administrators and parents, the program had a positive impact on the siblings.

Suggested Citation

  • Feinberg, Mark E. & Sakuma, Kari-Lyn & Hostetler, Michelle & McHale, Susan M., 2013. "Enhancing sibling relationships to prevent adolescent problem behaviors: Theory, design and feasibility of Siblings Are Special," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 97-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:36:y:2013:i:1:p:97-106
    DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2012.08.003

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    Cited by:

    1. Kothari, Brianne H. & McBeath, Bowen & Lamson-Siu, Emilie & Webb, Sara Jade & Sorenson, Paul & Bowen, Hannah & Waid, Jeff & Bank, Lew, 2014. "Development and feasibility of a sibling intervention for youth in foster care," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 91-99.


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