Growing up with siblings can be a both a blessing and a nightmare but recent study shows that having a sister has the ability to improve your overall emotional health. A study was published in The Journal of Family Psychology in 2010 which examined 400 families with multiple siblings between the ages of 10-14. The results showed that having a sister has a tendency to promote positive mental health in their siblings. Here are the reasons why having a sister makes you a better person.
Gives you a mental health boost
The study published in the Journal of Family Psychology hypothesized and showed that having a sister boosts your mental health and also raises your self-esteem. A group of researchers from Brigham Young University established that having sisters can help siblings avoid “feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful.”
Assistant professor Alex Jensen told Motherly “What we know suggests that sisters play a role in promoting positive mental health and later in life they often do more to keep families in contact with one another after the parents pass.”
Makes you more compassionate
Sisters, and women in general, have a tendency to promote positive social behaviors such as compassion and altruism. They are also more liberal when it comes to showing love and affection. The same group of researchers from the Brigham Young University study found that having a sister can help a person become kinder and more giving.
Laura Padilla-Walker who is a professor in BYU’s School of Family Life, said in an interview with ABC News “Even if there is a little bit of fighting, as long as they have affection, the positive will win out.” She continued by stating “If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That’s an important skill to learn for later in life.”
Hones your interpersonal and communication skills
Although fights and arguments are bound to break out among siblings, having a sister could teach siblings a lot about the basis of conflict-resolution and empathy. Author of ‘The Sibling Effect’ Jeffrey Kluger mentioned that one can learn how to manage tough arguments and reduce escalating situations by looking to their “combative” or “physically intimidating” older sister. Kluger also says that on the other hand, having a younger sister will promote an inclination to be more nurturing and empathetic.
Research has also found that boys who grew up with sisters are better at communicating with the other sex as opposed to if they grew up around all male siblings. This also applies the other way around as well. Jensen states that “Some research suggests that having a sibling who is a different gender from you can be a real benefit in adolescence. Many of those sibling pairs become closer during the teen years because they become good sources of information about the opposite sex.”
Teaches you to be independent and ambitious
A group of British psychologists conducted a survey in 2009 and the results showed that people who were raised with at least one sister had a greater propensity to be determined and independent than those who grew up with only brothers in the household. Co-author Tony Cassidy from the University of Ulster told the Daily Mail, “It is about that intrinsic desire to want to do better every time, to strive towards goals. It certainly seems there is something about the family situation with the number of girls in it that leads to more encouragement to achieve and be independent.”
The survey which included 571 respondents between the ages of 17 to 25, found that people with sisters were better able to cope with stress and have a greater ability to deal with the issues that life presents. This meant that these individuals generally lived happier lives and have a more optimistic outlook on life.
Help you express emotions
The reason why women are generally better at communicating and letting others know how they are feeling all has to do with emotional expression according to Cassidy. He says that women are better at opening up “channels of communication and it becomes a much more expressive situation and that’s positive.” He also believes that “Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.”