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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

The Study of Sibling Violence among Foster Children

FOA Number: CE04-045 - Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 8/1/04–7/31/07
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000205-01
Principal Investigator: Lourdes Oriana Linares, PhD
NYU Child Study Center
215 Lexington Avenue, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-263-8847
Fax: 212-263-3690


This investigation builds on prior work. Researchers will collect two assessments on 260 African American and Latino maltreated siblings placed in foster care for whom two assessments were obtained 1 year apart, and who were 7 years old when the study began. Given their substantiated histories of exposure to past familial violence, the sample is at high risk for psychological problems, disruptions in school competence, and perpetration of sibling violence.
Researchers, working closely with participating child welfare agencies in NYC and with biological and foster mothers, retained 82% of the siblings and completed clinically meaningful analyses of a complex data set. Preliminary studies indicate that 68% reported moderate to high sibling conflict, 41% showed elevated behavior problems, and 62% met criteria for a child mental disorder. In random regression analyses, sibling conflict, foster caregiving warmth, and less rejecting caregiving contributed independently to increased sibling problems.

Building on this unique, recruited sample, the research objectives of this project are:

  1. To examine correlates of sibling violence, namely, past familial victimization (exposure to child neglect, abuse, and/or intimate partner violence), child mental disorder (particularly disruptive behavior disorders), and placement variables (together or apart; and foster home instability) over time.
  2. To examine the contribution of sibling violence on increased psychological symptoms (increased internalizing, externalizing) and disruptions in school competence, over time.
  3. To evaluate the moderating role of sibling positivity, foster caregiving quality, and differential warmth and responsive management in the linkage between sibling violence and increased symptoms and disruptions in school competence, over time.

The identification of modifiable risk and protective factors in the social ecology of foster care is a crucial first step in effective prevention of sibling violence among foster children.