Study: Sibling Rivalries Could Indicate Poor Mental Health

DURHAM, N.H. (CBS Connecticut) – Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that fighting between siblings – often thought to be a natural part of the growing-up process – may actually indicate poor mental health and mental health distress.

The study, which speaks not only to young children but adolescents as well, was said to have found an increase in incidents of mental health distress in those who fought with their brothers and sisters.

Working out of the University’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, researchers first poured over all data collected by their National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence.

The survey reportedly represents 3,599 children nationwide, with ages of participating children ranging from one month to 17 years of age.

The effects of physical attacks of varying natures, theft and purposefully broken property, and psychological aggression were all monitored and chronicled by researchers at the University.

Of those asked, 32 percent said they experienced some form of sibling victimization. And in those children, a greater deal of mental health distress was noted, especially in younger age groups.

“Even kids who reported just one instance had more mental health distress,” Corinna Jenkins Tucker, associate professor of family studies at the University and lead author of the study, was quoted as saying by EurekAlert. “Our study shows that sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent.”

The study, officially titled “Association of Sibling Aggression with Child and Adolescent Mental Health,” was published in the journal Pediatrics in July, the website additionally reported.


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