Having a sister can actually be good for your mental health and self-esteem.
In particular, researchers from Brigham Young University found sisters help protect their siblings from “feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful.”
“Just having a sister led to less depression,” said Laura Padilla-Walker, a professor in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life and lead author on the study published in this month’s Journal of Family Psychology.
The study discovered that having a sister can help you become a kinder, more giving person. That’s because sisters are promoting positive social behaviors such as compassion and altruism when they show love and affection.
The strengths of these effects aren’t even replicated with loving parental relationships.
“Even if there is a little bit of fighting, as long as they have affection, the positive will win out,” lead study author Laura Padilla-Walker, a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, said in an interview with ABC News.
“If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That’s an important skill to learn for later in life.”
Research also found that brothers who grew up with sisters are better at communicating with women than those who were only children or only have brothers.
The study, in Seattle, involved 395 families with more than one child, including at least one aged 10-14. The adolescent child responded to a questionnaire and was videotaped while answering questions about a sibling closest in age. The process was repeated one year later.
Do you have a sister? How well do you get along?
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