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Study Reveals: Sisters Protect Siblings From Depression

Sisters Protect Siblings From Depression

There is something beautiful and comforting about having a sister. Even a little one can make 10 to 14-year-olds less likely to get depressed.

Namely, one study discovered that having a sister protects young teens from feeling fearful, unloved, self-conscious, guilty, and lonely.

Researchers studied 395 families from Seattle with 2 or more children, with at least one child in each family being between ages 10-14. They discovered that those siblings who are affectionate have positive influences on each other’s mental health no matter of gender, age, or how many years they are apart.

“Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” said Padilla-Walker, the lead author of the research and a professor at the Brigham Young University. “They give kids something that parents don’t.”

Padilla-Walker’s findings were published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Her study of the 395 families with one child between 10 to 14-years-old, helped her collect valuable information about each family’s dynamic. She followed up again after one year to gather more data.

Her statistical analysis proved that having a sister protects young adolescents from feeling fearful, lonely, unloved, self-conscious, and guilty. And this is true both for younger and older sisters.

Moreover, having brothers is also helpful! The study found that having a loving sibling of either gender promotes good deed, such as watching out for other children at school or helping a neighbor.

The study discovered that having loving siblings fosters better and more charitable attitudes than having loving parents. The connection between good deeds and sibling affection was twice as strong as that between good deeds and parenting.

“For parents of younger kids, the message is to encourage sibling affection,” said professor Padilla-Walker. “Once they get to adolescence, it’s going to be a big protective factor.”

There you go. Thank your sister for being there for you and let her know how much you love her and how much grateful you are for having her in your life.

Mary Wright