There are so many upsides to having a sister. You have a friend and companion for life, someone to share your thrills and dark days with with, a ‘stylist’ to help you with your fashion woes and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone else who knows you better, but science has found yet another reason why it’s great to have your sister in your life.
Yes, sometimes having a sister (or sibling) can be a pain, but and now we’ve come across two studies that say having one actually makes you a better, happier person. Remember all those things your mum said about sisterly love? Turns out she was right!
According to the study, done in the University of Ulster, people who grow up with at least one sister are generally more balanced and happier adults. The study of 571 participants aged between 17 and 25, found that those who grow up with no sisters tend to be more distressed. Professor Tony Cassidy, who conducted the survey, said: “Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families. Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.”
According to another study, conducted in Utah in the US, having a sister is also good for your emotional health. Young adolescents who had sisters either younger or older were less likely to experience negative feelings, such as loneliness and guilt.
The study was done part of BYU’s Flourishing Families Project and included 395 families with more than one child, at least one of whom was an adolescent between the ages of 10 and 14.
The results showed having at least one sister was associated with higher scores on a range of measures important for psychological well-being.
“Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” said study researcher Laura Padilla-Walker, of Brigham Young University in Utah. “They give kids something that parents don’t.”
Those adolescents with sisters were less likely than those without sisters to indicate feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful. It didn’t matter whether the sister was younger or older, or how far apart the siblings were age-wise.
“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.”
So if you’re lucky enough to have a sister, remember the next time you have a row, that underneath all that, it’s actually very good for you!