Those with sisters are encouraged to communicate openly about their feelings which in turn results in a positive outlook
You're going to start feeling less annoyed with your sister and more grateful to have her in your life after learning about the findings of a recent study. Despite the few times you may have fought with your sibling, you know you're ever-so-glad to have her in your life, right? Now there's research that affirms that having a sister leads to better communication skills and improved mental health. A new study conducted by researchers at De Montfort University and Ulster University discovered that people who grew up with a sister are more likely to be happier than those who didn’t.
The researchers from Northern Ireland surveyed over 570 people aged between 17 and 25. The participants were asked psychological questions about a number of different topics, including mental health. What they found was that those who grew up with sisters were encouraged to communicate openly about their feelings, and this in turn gave them a more positive outlook on life. According to the Mirror, Professor Tony Cassidy, who carried out the study, said, "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." The study is likely to be helpful for families where the parents had split up, he said, adding, "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."
Back in 2010, researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah looked into the effects of having a sibling and had similar findings. The survey involved 395 families, all of whom had more than one child. The conclusion? Having a sister makes you a kinder person. That doesn't leave brothers far behind, by the way. The research also pointed out that brothers bring benefits too, as long as it’s a loving relationship. Speaking at the time, Researcher Laura Padilla-Walker told ABC News, "Sibling affection from either gender was related to less delinquency and more pro-social behaviours like greater kindness and generosity, volunteering and helping others."
Even if you and your sister have argued every once in a while, that's okay. "Even if there is a little bit of fighting, as long as they have affection, the positive will win out," said Padilla-Walker. "If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That's an important skill to learn for later in life." Padilla-Walker added that her own young son and daughter "fight every 15 minutes but they make up. That's where parents come in. The key is to have kids learn to make up with one another before they have fights with their peers. It's important so that when they are adolescents they can have those skills." Healthy communication and respect are important traits in any relationship, so don't forget to keep nurturing the special bond between you and your sister.