Emerging adults’ use of communication technologies with their siblings: associations with sibling relationship quality


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Informed by the Couple and Family Technology (CFT) framework, the present study aimed to examine how the use of different communication modalities is associated with sibling relationship quality in emerging adulthood. The four communication modalities were face-to-face communication, synchronous communication technologies, asynchronous communication technologies, and social media. The sample consists of 275 emerging adults aged between 18- to 29-years-old, who had a living, biological sibling. Results of a Hierarchical Multiple Regression revealed that frequency of face-to-face communication was negatively associated with sibling relationship quality throughout all steps. In addition, geographic distance moderated the relationship between face-to-face communication and sibling relationship quality – the closer they live with each other, the stronger the negative relationship became. Another two moderation effects emerged in this study. First, gender dyads moderated the relationship between asynchronous communication frequency and sibling relationship quality. As the frequency of asynchronous communication increases, the relationship quality of sister-sister pairs was significantly less close than brother-brother and mixed-gender pairs. Second, gender dyads moderated the relationship between frequency of social media usage and sibling relationship quality. For brother-brother pairs and mixed-gender pairs, the frequency of social media usage was negatively related to sibling relationship quality. Whereas for sister-sister pairs, the frequency of social media usage was positively associated with sibling relationship quality.



Sibling relationship quality, Emerging adulthood, Communication technologies, Face-to-face communication, Gender differences

Graduation Month



Master of Science


School of Family Studies and Human Services

Major Professor

Melinda S. Markham