Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Stacey Wood

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Rights Information

© 2016 Alynn C. Hembrough


Pulling from the foundations of research on social support and resilience indicating that those who receive extensive social support are more resilient, this research, consisting of two studies, primarily examined the differences between individuals who are only children and individuals who have siblings in their formation of social support networks. While it is true that only children inherently have less immediate kin available, this research explored the formation of relationships in which non-kin come to be psychologically considered as kin, or psychological kinship. In Study 1, qualitative interviews were conducted in order to develop a working Kinship scale. Study 2, an online study conducted with 480 English-speaking adults, assessed self-reported resilience, social support, and experiences of psychological kinship. Contrary to original hypotheses, results indicated that while only children did not match people with siblings in their levels of social support and resilience, they did report experiencing equal amounts of psychological kinship. Overall, psychological kin relationships appear to be an important aspect of social support networks and therefore meaningfully contribute to one’s resiliency.