Lifestyle & Belief

Girls with brothers have lower self-esteem and more anxiety


A new study has linked conflict with siblings with future problems relating to anxiety and self-esteem.


Stephen Dunn

A new study has said that the health effects of sibling conflict extend into one's later years.

Researchers at the University of Missouri found that squabbling with brothers and sisters put one at greater risk of depression and anxiety.

They say the conflicts occur during a delicate period in children's lives.

The study used interviews and questionnaires with 145 pairs of siblings between the ages of 12 and 15, reported Counsel and Heal.

Researchers looked at different argument topics and the intensity of them.

Using the data, they found that those who regularly quarreled with their siblings over issues of fairness, equality and invasion of privacy, were more likely to be depressed or anxious later.

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"Fights about borrowing things without asking, going into my room without asking, and other issues about privacy invasion, such as being around when my friends are over, are particularly important for adolescents because this is a time in their lives when they're striving for independence and autonomy from the family," said lead author Nicole Campione-Barr, of the University of Missouri, according to USA Today.

They found the results held across sexes and age groups for depression.

However, they found that stress and self-esteem issues were more common in younger brothers with older brothers and girls with brothers.

USA Today said that research shows that parents trying to step in and resolve these conflicts often makes matters worse.

The study was published in the journal Child Development.