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Cant, D. (1983). Judy Dunn and Carol Kendrick: Siblings. Published by Grant McIntyre, 1982.. J. Child Psychother., 9(2):201-203.

(1983). Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 9(2):201-203

Judy Dunn and Carol Kendrick: Siblings. Published by Grant McIntyre, 1982.

Review by:
Diana Cant

This book is the result of a study of 40 first born children living in Cambridge, whose mothers were, at the beginning of the study, about to give birth to their second child. The authors’ aim is to focus on the eldest child at the period around the birth of the sibling, and thereby attempt to understand what effect this dramatic event has on the life of the child, and, to some extent, on the whole family. It also provides an opportunity to consider how a young child's understanding of other people develops.


The mothers were approached initially by health visitors, and, if interested, then contacted the researchers themselves. The majority of families were working-class, and living in council estates or small terraced houses. There were twenty-one boys in the sample, and nineteen girls, ranging in age from 18 months to 43 months at the birth of the sibling, but the majority being between 1 1/2 years and 2 years of age. The children all had a lot of contact with their extended families.

Children were all observed within the home at four points: a month before the birth of the baby, and one month, eight months and fourteen months afterwards. The method was one of participant observation. The same observer visited each time, and spent an hour recording interaction and play, verbal and non-verbal behaviour. The mother was also asked quite extensively for her observations of the child, both before and after the birth, and a “temperamental assessment” was made of the child at these two points.

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