Children, Youth, Families & Schools, Nebraska Center for Research on


Date of this Version



J Youth Adolesc. 2016 May ; 45(5): 900–915


Copyright (c) 2016 Springer



Youth's experiences with romantic relationships during adolescence and young adulthood have far reaching implications for future relationships, health, and well-being; yet, although scholars have examined potential peer and parent influences, we know little about the role of siblings in youth's romantic relationships. Accordingly, this study examined the prospective longitudinal links between Mexican-origin older and younger siblings' romantic relationship experiences and variation by sibling structural and relationship characteristics (i.e., sibling age and gender similarity, younger siblings' modeling) and cultural values (i.e., younger siblings' familism values). Data from 246 Mexican-origin families with older (M = 20.65 years; SD = 1.57; 50% female) and younger (M = 17.72 years; SD = .57; 51% female) siblings were used to examine the likelihood of younger siblings' involvement in dating relationships, sexual relations, cohabitation, and engagement/marriage with probit path analyses. Findings revealed older siblings' reports of involvement in a dating relationship, cohabitation, and engagement/marriage predicted younger siblings' relationship experiences over a two-year period. These links were moderated by sibling age spacing, younger siblings' reports of modeling and familism values. Our findings suggest the significance of social learning dynamics as well as relational and cultural contexts in understanding the links between older and younger siblings' romantic relationship experiences among Mexican-origin youth.