Sibling Violence: Validating a Two-Factor Model of Severity in Nonoffender Populations

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Objective: Despite a recent surge of academic and clinical interest in sibling violence (SV), valid measures of severity have not been psychometrically established using nonoffender populations. This study examined the factor structure of intentional SV severity in a nonforensic sample considered to be not at “high risk” for violence using the only existing empirically driven model of severe SV committed with intent (Khan & Cooke, 2013). The prior model was established in a high risk for violence, young offender sample (N = 111; mean age = 14.53) and revealed 2 underlying factors: “SV with weapon use” and “SV without weapon use.” Method: This study examined data from an older, mixed-community, and student sample (N = 899; M = 22.53) to test the factor structure and reliability of the existing severity model. Results: Participants reported a wide range of violent acts against their sibling(s) with the aim of injuring them, including weapon use. Using exploratory factor analyses and confirmatory factor analyses, the prior 2-factor model was empirically supported using this noncorrectional population. The new model comprised Factor 1 (potentially lethal SV) and Factor 2 (nonlife threatening SV). Conclusion: The generalizability of the original 2-factor model, established using an offender sample, was demonstrated in this nonoffender sample designated not at high risk for violence.

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