Academic achievement; Family process; Family resources; Family transitions; Parent–adolescent relationships ; Resource dilution; Siblings


This study assessed secondborn adolescents’ perceptions of changes in the allocation of family resources following their firstborn siblings’ departure from home after high school, and whether perceived changes were related to changes over 1 year in secondborns’ academic functioning. Participants were secondborn siblings (mean age = 16.58, SD = 0.91) from 115 families in which the older sibling had left the family home in the previous year. Allocation of resources was measured via coded qualitative interviews. Most (77%) secondborns reported increases in at least one type of family resource (i.e., parental companionship, attention, material goods), and many reported an increase in multiple types of resources in the year following their older sibling’s departure. Consistent with resource dilution theory, perceptions of increases in fathers’ companionship, fathers’ attention, and mothers’ companionship were related to improvements over time in secondborns’ academic functioning.

Original Publication Citation

Jensen, A. C., Whiteman, S. D., Bernard, J. M., & McHale, S. M. (2017). Resource reallocation? Implications of parents’ resource distribution following firstborns’ leaving home. Family Process, 56, 766-780. doi:10.1111/famp.12203

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Family Process




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

Included in

Psychology Commons