The relationships between sibling characteristics and motor performance in 3-to 5-year-old typically developing children

Dagmar F.A.A. Derikx*, Erica Kamphorst, Gerda van der Veer, Marina M. Schoemaker, Esther Hartman, Suzanne Houwen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Siblings have been hypothesized to positively impact the motor performance of children by acting as examples and by providing a safe environment, but they may also negatively impact motor performance because they could compete for the parent’s time and care. Therefore, this study investigates the relationship between several sibling characteristics and motor performance in 3-to 5-year-old children. The sample consisted of 205 3-to 5-year-old children (mean age 50.9 ± 10.0 months, 52.2% boys). The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 was used to measure motor performance. The sibling variable was operationalized as the number of siblings present, the age difference between a child and its siblings, and the birth order position of a child. The confounding variables that were taken into account were the age, sex, and behavioral problems of the child and maternal education level. None of the investigated sibling variables were related to the total motor performance of a child after controlling for possible confounding variables. The absence of any associations between the sibling variables and motor performance might be explained by the characteristics of the study sample, the possibility that there is no linear relationship, or the presence of still unknown moderating or mediating factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number356
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jan-2022


  • Child development
  • Early childhood
  • Motor skills
  • Social environment

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