If you have any sisters, you probably already recognize that you have a built-in friend from the time you’re very young. Yes, sisters can be a pain in the neck because they will do everything they can to embarrass you, steal your clothing or copy you when you do something right. Most of us feel that we would be happier without them but studies are now showing that the opposite is actually true.
This study comes from the De Montfort University in Leicester and Ulster University in Ireland. Their study shows that not only are you happier when you have a sister, you also tend to be more optimistic. A number of participants were used in the studies between the ages of 17-25. Information was provided about their outlook on life and mental health when they filled out questionnaires. 571 people were surveyed and the results are rather interesting.
According to the research, there is a direct link between being open and learning to communicate your feelings and having a sister. They think of the positive role that a sister plays can help with your mental health.
Prof. Tony Cassidy, one of the researchers had the following to say:
“Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families.
However, brothers seem to have the alternative effect.
Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.
It could be that boys have a natural tendency not to talk about things.
With boys together it is about a conspiracy of silence not to talk. Girls tend to break that down.”
Prof. Cassidy also said that the differences were more significant in families with divorced parents.
“I think these findings could be used by people offering support to families and children during distressing times.
We may have to think carefully about the way we deal with families with lots of boys”
Another study was done at Brigham Young University. 395 families with multiple children were used in the study and it was found that having a sister may make you a kinder person. In addition, brothers may also bring benefits as long as the relationship has more love than fighting.
Laura Padilla-Walker, the lead researcher of that study had the following to say:
“Sibling affection from either gender was related to less delinquency and more pro-social behaviours like greater kindness and generosity, volunteering and helping others”
There was also a joint study between the universities of Oxford, Warwick and UCL. It found the children reported being bullied by their siblings several times a week have the opposite effect. Those individuals were twice as likely to have clinical depression and self-harm when they were young adults.
Dr Lucy Bowes, the lead author of the study said:
“Forms of bullying where victims are shoved around the playground or targeted at work have been well documented, however, this study uncovers a largely hidden form of bullying. Victims of sibling bullying are offered little escape as sibling relationships endure throughout development.
‘We are not talking about the sort of teasing that often goes on within families, but incidents that occur several times a week, in which victims are ignored by their brothers or sisters, or are subjected to verbal or physical violence.”