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Symbolic Interactionism and Siblings


Human beings are social in nature and embrace relationships depending on their personal goals. Symbolic interactionism is a powerful theory that examines the nature of such connections between people in a specific community. They will apply the relevant symbols and language that can guide them to formulate meanings of their surrounding environments. The move to combine symbolic interactionism and siblings into a given research agenda will shed more light about the past attributes associated with the individuals’ relationships, how they communicate, and the impact of social class.

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Incorporating Symbolic Interactionism and Siblings

Most of the past research studies focusing on the relationships established in families has revolved around the concepts of functionalism and conflict. The functional perspectives would describe how families socialize their children and regulate a wide range of activities. The conflict model, on the other hand, describes the possible sources of inequalities in the family and how siblings end up developing their own personalities. The symbolic interactionism theory can help a researcher targeting on siblings to focus more on the recorded situations and practices (Campione-Barr et al., 2015). Specifically, the researcher will understand how two or more brothers or sisters relate with each other. The study process will deliver additional insights for exploring their personal attributes, goals, and expectations.

Through such a lens, the researcher will be empowered to find additional meanings in the manner in which siblings fight each other or handle their differences. This model will require a detailed approach beyond the conflict strategy or theory. Additionally, the study process will create a new opportunity for focusing on the portrayed symbols and behaviors. In such a research process, the professional will be in a position to learn more about the siblings’ cultural attributes and scripts (Gabatz et al., 2017). The underlying argument is that any individual will be keen to interact with another in a unique manner that is in accordance with the promoted relationship.

When completing such a research, the symbolic interactionism model will present new perspectives on events, activities, and hobbies that are critical to specific family members. The evidence will also expose the meanings attached or associated with some of the identified activities (Gabatz et al., 2017). This process means that the researcher will acquire insights and ideas for learning more about a specific family, their past experiences, and their possible goals. In the same research, the investigator will shed more light about the siblings’ social class and what it means to them. Their status could also expose how they handle emerging differences, relate with other members of the society, and pursue their social and economic goals.

Symbolic interactionism theory goes further to expose the promoted styles of communication between siblings. Since no two individuals are the same, the model will allow the researcher to analyze each person’s communication philosophy and connect the same to his or her social class (Sanner et al., 2018). Additionally, the exercise will expose more observations about the sibling’s expectations from each other.


The above discussion has revealed that the move to incorporate an element of symbolic interactionism and siblings in a given research will expand the agenda by exposing additional insights. The researcher will also be able to focus on a wide range of areas and link the findings to the participants’ future economic goals, social status, and conflict resolution mechanisms. This model would, therefore, be appropriate for researchers planning to learn more about sibling relationships.


Campione-Barr, N., Lindell, A. K., Giron, S. E., Killoren, S. E., & Greer, K. B. (2015). Domain differentiated disclosure to mothers and siblings and associations with sibling relationship quality and youth emotional adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 51(9), 1278 –1291. Web.

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Gabatz, R. I. B., Schwartz, E., Milbrath, V. M., Zillmer, J. G. V., & Neves, E. T. (2017). Attachment theory, symbolic interactionism and grounded theory: Articulating reference frameworks for research. Texto Contexto Enferm, 26(4), e1940017. Web.

Sanner, C., Russell, L. T., & Coleman, M., Ganong, L. (2018). Half-sibling and stepsibling relationships: A systematic integrative review. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10, 765-784. Web.

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