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Sibling Relationships Strengthen Mental and Life Skills

Sibling Relationships Strengthen Mental and Life SkillsWhile analyzing the relationship between siblings, researchers discovered something about having a sister helps 10- to 14-year-olds not be sad.

That’s one of several intriguing findings from a new study on the impact siblings have on one another. Brigham Young University professor Laura Padilla-Walker is the lead author on the research, which also sorts out the influence of siblings and the influence of parents within families.

“Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” said Padilla-Walker, who teaches in BYU’s School of Family Life.

“They give kids something that parents don’t.”

Padilla-Walker’s research stems from BYU’s Flourishing Families Project and will appear in the August issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.

The study included 395 families with more than one child, at least one of whom was an adolescent between 10 and 14 years old. The researchers gathered a wealth of information about each family’s dynamic, then followed up one year later.

Statistical analyses showed that having a sister protected adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful. It didn’t matter whether the sister was younger or older, or how far apart the siblings were agewise.

Brothers mattered, too. The study found that having a loving sibling of either gender promoted good deeds, such as helping a neighbor or watching out for other kids at school. In fact, loving siblings fostered charitable attitudes more than loving parents did.

The relationship between sibling affection and good deeds was twice as strong as that between parenting and good deeds.

“For parents of younger kids, the message is to encourage sibling affection,” said Padilla-Walker. “Once they get to adolescence, it’s going to be a big protective factor.”

Many parents justifiably worry about the seemingly endless fighting between siblings. The study found hostility was indeed associated with greater risk of delinquency.

Yet Padilla-Walker also sees a silver lining in the data: The fights give children a chance to learn how to make up and to regain control of their emotions, skills that come in handy down the road.

“An absence of affection seems to be a bigger problem than high levels of conflict,” Padilla-Walker said.

Source: Brigham Young University

Sibling Relationships Strengthen Mental and Life Skills

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Sibling Relationships Strengthen Mental and Life Skills. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/08/03/sibling-relationships-strengthen-mental-and-life-skills/16330.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.