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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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  • Having had two boys and two girls this comment is quite funny. The two boys never got on, and neither really did the sisters. The eldest boy and youngest daughter ganged up on the other two, but really didn’t like each other that much, the youngest boy and elder daughter got on and still do to this day. However if something went wrong the other three kids always turned to the eldest daughter to help them out. She is very caring and helpful – not so the other three.

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  • I know a guy who is one of 3 boys. All his cousins are boys. Married with children, his communication skills with his wife, daughters and other females is shocking. He has admitted that sometimes he actually has to think about what he is going to say and you get silence on the phone while he is doing that.

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  • Haha, I find this really funny. I have two sisters and I cannot relate to this article at all. As the third child (girl) I’ve grown up without the love and protection that I thought sisters would give. I also thought they would give me advice on girl stuff – clothing, putting on make-up, etc. Nothing! Nada. Not one bit! Too wrapped up in their own lives!!

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  • My little boy and girl are so cute to watch playing together. Sometimes she can be a little bossy and sometimes they fight, but my boy genuinely looks up to his big sister and they do seem to enjoy spending time together.

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  • I have 2 sisters, we get along well even though they are more outspoken than me.

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  • I have 5 brothers and a sister
    My partner has 5 sisters and a brother
    Neither of us have close relationships with any siblings. I think having 5 older sisters made my partner a bit selfish and lazy. They doted on him and spoiled him

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  • I grew up with 4 sisters, 2 older and 2 younger then me. Can’t say they were that loving, lol ! When I look to my own children I think my son is the most gentle, caring and loving.

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  • Two sisters younger then me and a brother younger then me. My brother was my best friend and after he died my relationship with my sisters became non existent. They are close and very good friends. My husband comes from a large family and his sisters are the oldest two, yes they were and are still very protective of their little brothers.

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  • Hi I JUST TRIED TO RECOMMEND THIS AND IT WOULD NOT ALLOW IT. tHIS IS HAPPENING SUCH A LOT. also I tried to send a message to mum@mouthsofmums.com.au and it said it was undeliverable. I WANTED TO ASK WHY MY SON’S BIRTHDAY POINTS HAVE NOT BEEN ADDED TO MY REWARDS. HIS BIRTHDAY WAS TODAY AND HIS NAME IS sTEVEN. sorry TO PUT ALL THIS ON HERE BUT IT IS THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GET A MESSAGE FROM ME.

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  • My 2 daughters are like peas in a pod One is 47 and the other is 42.

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  • I have two sisters, one older and one younger. And we never had a great relation. :-(

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  • Wow, wouldn’t have expected that much of a difference.

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