Vivimos Unidos Study

The Vivimos Unidos Project: The Study of Mexican-origin Family Relationships

In the Vivimos Unidos Project, we are interested in family dynamics within Mexican-origin families. More specifically, we are interested in learning about sibling-related family dynamics, such as parents' differential treatment and sibling influence.

Research Overview

Siblings exert a pronounced and unique influence on youth across adolescence. Despite the ubiquity of siblings, research on siblings remains relatively neglected compared to research on parent-youth and marital relationships. Siblings spend substantial amounts of time together across adolescence, often more than time with parents, peers, or alone, affording them countless opportunities to learn from and be influenced by one another. Siblings serve as sources of support, validation, and skill development that can improve self-regulation and emotional understanding; thus, more intimate sibling bonds protect against depressive symptoms and involvement in risky behaviors. Sibling relationships can also be characterized by high levels of conflict, antisocial behavior, and substance use, and thus, can pose a risk for the development of depressive symptoms and risky behaviors in adolescence. Although, siblings are an especially influential context for development, much of what we know about siblings is based on ethnic majority samples. However, by recruiting from the Midwest, our project will extend and clarify previous research on sibling relationship-adjustment linkages within Mexican-origin families. This extension will collectively add to existing knowledge and broaden our understanding of siblings’ contributions to the development of Mexican-origin youth’s psychological adjustment situated in a different cultural context.

Age Group

  • Adolescents
  • Adults


Jenny Padilla, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology and Collegiate Chair of the William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families

Research Impact

Potential impact: to promote positive parenting and couples' interactions that support the healthy socio-emotional development of infants.

Research Themes