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Shawn Whiteman, PhD

Research Interests

Sibling relationships, sibling influence, family relationship processes, child effects on family dynamics, family gender dynamics, family methods, middle childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood


I came to Purdue in January of 2005, shortly after receiving my Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State in December of 2004. My research interests focus on family socialization processes and their connection to youth's social and emotional development during middle childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood.

Currently, my research examines how siblings directly and indirectly act as sources of social influence and social comparison within families and how their family experiences foster similarities and differences in their relationship qualities, attributes, and adjustment. For example, one project that I am currently working on examines the ways in which adolescent brothers and sisters influence each other's health behaviors. I am specifically interested in distinguishing between the processes that drive sibling similarities and differences in these domains as well as identifying the contextual factors that moderate their operation.

I am also engaged in collaborative research with other faculty members to explore how young adults' sibling and family relationships relate to their adjustment. For example, in collaboration with Dr. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth and the Military Family Research Institute, I am exploring how family, peer, and institutional factors are related to the successful adjustment of young adult military veterans enrolled in Indiana's colleges and universities. Additionally, working with Dr. Karen Fingerman, I am investigating the connections between sibling relationship qualities, parents' differential treatment of offspring, and offspring's differential support of parents in early adulthood.

A final related research interest is the exploration of different research methodologies for studying families.

Selected Publications

  • Jensen, A. C.*, & Whiteman, S. D. (in press). Parents’ differential treatment and adolescents’ delinquent behaviors: Direct and indirect effects of difference score- and perception-based measures. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • Whiteman, S. D., Senguttuvan, U.*, & Gold, Z. S.* (in press). Siblings. In H. S. Friedman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mental Health, 2nd Edition. Waltham, MA: Academic Press.
  • Barry, A. E., Whiteman, S. D., & MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (2014). The current evidence base for student service members/veterans in higher education: A systematic review. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 51, 30-42. doi:10.1515/jsarp-2014-003
  • Senguttuvan, U.*, Whiteman, S. D., & Jensen, A. C.* (2014). Family relationships and adolescents’ health attitudes and weight: The understudied role of sibling relationships. Family Relations, 63, 384-396. doi:10.1111/fare.12073
  • Whiteman, S. D., Jensen, A. C.*, & Maggs, J. L. (2014). Similarities and differences in adolescent siblings’ alcohol-related attitudes, use, and delinquency: Evidence for convergent and divergent influence processes. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 687-697. doi: 10.1007/s10964-013-9971-z. PMID: 23765197
  • Whiteman, S. D., Zeiders, K. H., Killoren, S. E., Rodriguez, S. A., & Updegraff, K. A. (2014). Sibling influence on Mexican-origin adolescents’ deviant and sexual risk behaviors: The role of sibling modeling. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54, 587-592. doi: 10.1016/j/jadohealth.2013.10.004
  • Barry, A. E., Piazza-Gardner, A.*, Whiteman, S. D., & Jensen, A. C.* (2013). Gender differences in the association between BMI, weight loss, exercise, and drinking among college students. Journal of American College Health, 61, 407-413. doi:10.1080/07448481.2013.823973. PMID: 24010495
  • Barry, A. E., Stellefson, M. L., Hanik, B., Tennant, B. L., Whiteman, S. D., Varnes, J., & MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (2013). Examining the association between binge drinking and propensity to join the military. Military Medicine, 178, 37-42.
  • Jensen, A. C.*, Whiteman, S. D., Fingerman, K. L., & Birdittt, K. (2013). “Life still isn’t fair”: Parental differential treatment of young adult siblings. Journal of Marriage and Family, 75, 438-452. doi:10.1111/jomf.12002
  • Whiteman, S. D., Barry, A. E., Mroczek, D. K., & MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (2013). The development and implications of peer emotional support for student service members/veterans and civilian college students. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 265-278. doi: 10.1037/a0031650.
  • Whiteman, S. D., Jensen, A. C.*, & Maggs, J. L. (2013). Similarities in adolescent siblings' substance use: Testing competing pathways of influence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 74, 104-113.
  • Barry, A. E., Whiteman, S. D., & MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (2012). Implications of posttraumatic stress among military-affiliated and civilian students. Journal of American College Health, 68, 562-573. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2012.721427.
  • Barry, A. E., Whiteman, S. D., MacDermid Wadsworth, S., & Hitt, S. F. (2012) The alcohol use and associated mental health problems of veterans and student service members in higher education. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 19, 415-425. doi: 10.3109/09687637.647123
  • McHale, S. M., Updegraff, K. A., & Whiteman, S. D. (2012). Sibling relationships. In G. W. Peterson & K. R. Bush (Eds.), Handbook of marriage and family (3rd ed.) (pp. 329-351). New York: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-3987-5_15
  • McHale, S. M., Updegraff, K. A., & Whiteman, S. D. (2012). Sibling relationships and influences in childhood and adolescence. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74, 913-930. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2012.01011.x
  • Turiano, N. A.*, Whiteman, S. D., Hampson, S. E., Roberts, B. W., & Mroczek, D. K. (2012). Personality and substance use in midlife: Conscientiousness as a moderator and the effects of trait change. Journal of Research on Personality, 46, 295-305. doi:  10.1016/j.jrp.2012.02.009
  • Whiteman, S. D., Jensen, A.*, & Bernard, J. M.* (2012). Sibling influences. In J. R. Levesque (Ed.), Encyclopedia of adolescence (pp. 2713-2717). New York: Springer.
  • Whiteman, S. D., & Barry, A. E. (2011). A comparative analysis of student service member/veteran and civilian student drinking motives. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 48, 297-313. doi: 10.2202/1949-6605.6322
  • Whiteman, S. D., Bernard, J. M.*, & Jensen, A. C.* (2011). Sibling influence in human development. In J. Caspi (Ed.), Sibling development: Implications for mental health practitioners (pp. 1-15). New York: Springer.
  • Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2011). Family relationships from adolescence to early adulthood: Changes in the family system following firstborns’ leaving home. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 21, 461-474. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00683.x
  • Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Soli, A.* (2011). Theoretical perspectives on sibling relationships. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 3, 124-139. doi: 10.1111/j.1756-2589.2011.00087.x
  • Whiteman, S. D., Bernard, J. M.*, & McHale, S. M. (2010). The nature and correlates of sibling influence in two-parent African American families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 267-271.
  • Whiteman, S. D., Becerra, J. M.*, & Killoren, S.* (2009). Mechanisms of sibling socialization in normative family development. In L. Kramer & K. J. Conger (Eds.), Siblings as agents of socialization. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 126, 29-43. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Fingerman, K. L., Whiteman, S. D., & Dotterer, A. M. (2009). Mother-child relationships in adolescence and adulthood. In H. T. Reis & S. K. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Whiteman, S. D., & Christiansen, A. E. (2008). Processes of sibling influence in adolescence: Individual and family correlates. Family Relations, 57, 24-34.
  • Crouter, A. C., Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Osgood, D. W. (2007). The development of gender attitude traditionality across middle childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 78, 911-926.
  • McHale, S. M., Whiteman, S. D., Kim, J., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Characteristics and correlates of sibling relationships in African American families. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 227-235.
  • Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Competing processes of sibling influence: Observational learning and sibling deidentification. Social Development, 16, 642-661.
  • Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Explaining sibling similarities: Perceptions of sibling influences. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 36, 963-972.
  • Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Longitudinal changes in marital relationships: The role of offspring’s pubertal development. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69, 1005-1020.
  • Whiteman, S. D., & Mrozcek, D. (2007). A brief introduction to growth curve models. Irish Journal of Psychology, 28, 77-85.
  • McHale, S. M., Kim, J., & Whiteman, S. D. (2006). Sibling relationships in childhood and adolescence. In  P. Noller & J. A. Feeney (Eds.),  Close relationships: Functions, forms and processes (pp. 127-150). New York, NY: Psychology Press.
  • Updegraff, K. A., McHale, S. M., Whiteman, S. D., Thayer, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2006). The nature and correlates of Mexican American adolescents’ time with parents and peers. Child Development, 77, 1470-1486.
  • Whiteman, S. D., & Loken, E. (2006). Comparing analytic techniques to classify dyadic relationships: An example using siblings. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 1370-1382.
  • Updegraff, K. A., McHale, S. M., Whiteman, S. D., Thayer, S. M., & Delgado, M. Y. (2005). Adolescent sibling relationships in Mexican American families: Exploring the role of familism. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 512-522.
  • Updegraff, K. A., Thayer, S. M., Whiteman, S. D., Denning, D., & McHale, S. M. (2005). Relational aggression in adolescents’ sibling relationships: Links to sibling and parent-adolescent relationship quality. Family Relations, 54, 373-385.
  • Hawkins, D. N., & Whiteman, S. D. (2004). Balancing work and family: Problems and solutions for low-income families. In A. Booth and A. C. Crouter (Eds.) Work-family challenges for low-income parents and their children (pp. 273-286). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 
  • McHale, S. M., Kim, J., Whiteman, S. D., & Crouter, A. C. (2004). Links between sex-typed time use in middle childhood and gender development in early adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 40, 868-881.
  • McHale, S. M., Crouter, A. C., & Whiteman, S. D. (2003). The family contexts of gender development in childhood and adolescence. Social Development, 12, 125-148.
  • Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2003). What parents learn from experience: The first child as a first draft? Journal of Marriage and Family, 65, 608-621.
  • Whiteman, S. D., & Buchanan, C. M. (2002). Mothers’ and children’s expectations for adolescence: The impact of perceptions of an older sibling’s experience. Journal of Family Psychology, 16, 157-171.

*denotes graduate student co-author(s)


  • 2004, Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2000, M.A. Psychology, Wake Forest University
  • 1998, B.A., Summa cum Laude, Psychology, Shippensburg University

Courses Recently Taught

  • HDFS 313: Adolescent Development
  • HDFS 600: Advanced Family Processes
  • HDFS 613: Statistical Approaches for Development and Family Researchers
  • HDFS 617: Advanced Research Methods for Child Development and Family Studies


  • 2012: Early Career Research Achievement Award, College of Health and Human Sciences, Purdue University
  • 2010: Recipient of Gamma Sigma Delta's (honor society of the Colleges of Agriculture, Consumer and
    Family Sciences, and School of Veterinary Medicine) Faculty Award of Merit
  • 2010: Nominated for the College of Consumer and Family Sciences Mary L. Matthews Outstanding
    Undergraduate Teacher Award.
  • 2009: Nominated for The National Society of Collegiate Scholars' 2009 Inspire Integrity Award
  • 2008: Selected as an Outstanding Professor by the Purdue University Sorority and Fraternity Community.
  • 2003: Grace Henderson Fellowship, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • 2002-2003: Fellow in the Center for Work and Family Research, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2000:  Edward R.  & Helen Skade Hintz Graduate Educational Enhancement Fellowship, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • 1998:  John J. Nispel Scholarship Honor Award, Shippensburg University.
  • 1998:  Psychology Merit Award, Shippensburg University.
  • 1998:  William H. Mackaness Psychology Award, Shippensburg University.

External Grants

  • 2010-2012: Principal Investigator. Alcohol Use and Associated Problems among Veterans and Student Service Members. R03AA020193. National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, National Institutes of Health, $77,000.
  • 2009-2011: Principal Investigator. Sibling Influences on Adolescents' Alcohol and Substance Use Orientations. R21AA017490. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, $405,770.
  • 2009-2011: Principal Investigator. Operation diploma: Family, peer, and institutional factors related to military veterans adjustment in university life. Lilly Endowment (Subcontract awarded from Operation Diploma; Shelley MacDermid, Principal Investigator), $361,373
  • 2007-2008: Co-Investigator (Karen Fingerman, Principal Investigator). Supplement to the Psychology of Intergenerational Transfers Grant to Study Young Adult Siblings. MacArthur Network on Transitions to Adulthood (Frank Furstenberg, Network Chair), $71,454. 

Professional Service

Grant Review Panels

  • NIH Social Networks and Health Special Emphasis Panel (October 2010)
  • NIH/NIAAA Epidemiology, Prevention, and Behavior Research Review Subcommittee (October, 2012; March, 2013)

Offices held in National and International Societies

  • 2008-2010: NCFR Research and Theory Section Nominating Committee (elected)

Editorial Boards

  • 2007-present: Family Relations
  • 2007-present: Journal of Marriage and Family
  • 2007-present: Journal of Youth and Adolescence
  • 2008-2011: Journal of Research on Adolescence

Ad Hoc Reviewer

  • Addiction
  • British Journal of Developmental Psychology Child Development
  • Child Development Perspectives
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy
  • Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Family Relations
  • Infant and Child Development
  • Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology
  • Journal of Family Issues
  • Journal of Family Psychology
  • Journal of Marriage and Family
  • Journal of Personality
  • Journal of Research on Adolescence
  • Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
  • Journal of Youth and Adolescence
  • Merrill-Palmer Quarterly
  • Parenting
  • Personal Relationships
  • Psychological Science
  • Psychology of Addictive Behaviors
  • Springer Publishers