Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 July 2014
The association between mothers' psychological control and their children's emotional adjustment problems is well documented. However, processes that may explain this association are not well understood. The present study tested the idea that relational aggression and psychological control within the context of the sibling relationship may help to account for the relation between mothers' psychological control and adolescents' internalizing symptoms. Older (M = 16.46, SD = 1.35 years) and younger (M = 13.67, SD = 1.56 years) siblings from 101 dyads rated the psychological control they received from mothers and siblings, and the relational aggression they received from siblings. Despite some similarities between psychological control and relational aggression, confirmatory factor analyses provided evidence that the two sibling processes are distinct. Maternal psychological control was related to psychological control and relational aggression within the sibling relationship, which were related to adolescents' anxiety and depressed mood. In addition, sibling relational aggression was a more powerful mediator of the relationship between maternal psychological control and adolescent adjustment than sibling psychological control.