A new study stated that children who share good bonds with their siblings are less vulnerable to mental health issues due to parental strifes.
They're the ones you grow up playing (and fighting) with. Your siblings are often the first friends you make in more ways than one. When growing up, children are often exposed to the positives and negatives in a household. They are often at risk of being affected by unfavorable circumstances such as arguments between their parents or other hostile environments at home. It can affect you in more ways than one, often shaping the way you view the world and engage in relationships. But a new study revealed that children may be spared from the negative effects of parental strifes if they have a strong bond with their siblings.
The study published by the Society for Research in Child Development suggested that a good bond between siblings can act as a buffer in a household disrupted by conflicts. The research was conducted based on the observation made by experts suggesting that some children from broken and conflicted families faced mental health issues while others did not.
Led by Patrick T. Davies is a professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester, the research was done on 236 families and children aged 12, 13 and 14-year-olds, the results of which were published on ScienceDaily. It stated that kids who bonded well with their siblings were less vulnerable to experience distress due to the disagreements between parents at home. “We showed that having a good relationship with a brother or sister reduced heightened vulnerability for youth exposed to conflicts between their parents by decreasing their tendencies to experience distress in response to later disagreements between their parents, " said Patrick T. Davies.
The researchers asked parents to report incidents of disagreements within the household and measure the siblings' relationships based on the questions asked to mothers on conflicts and closeness between the kids. Children were also given the opportunity to express their psychological problems. Other data from teachers were also collected for the study.
The questionnaires that evaluated problems such as stress, anxiety and depression in children from conflicted households also played a crucial role in arriving at the conclusion. The findings from the study stated that adolescents who were exposed to parental conflicts were prone to develop mental health issues in subsequent years. However, teens who shared a strong relationship with their sibling did not experience any distressed responses and were consequently safe from mental health issues in the future. Researchers noticed that these effects were similar for siblings of different gender combinations and ages.
"Relationships with siblings protected teens whether we defined a good bond as one that included warmth and problem-solving skills or one that had low levels of destructive conflict or disengagement,” said Dr. Meredith Martin, assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who co-authored the study.
Which means regardless of whether you had a brother or a sister, if you shared a strong bond with them, you most likely did not suffer as much from the negativity of conflicts within the household. The bond between siblings is undoubtedly one to be envied because, after all, no one understands you as well as family.
Researchers also added that only strengthing the bond between siblings would not be enough to resolve the psychological issues of a child. However, it did offer a new approach to reduce the risks faced by kids exposed to hostility and conflicts between parents. It is important to note that the study was concentrated among white, middle-class families so the conclusions of this study may not be the same as observed in families of other socio-economic backgrounds.