Sibling aggression linked to poor mental health

Posted on June 19, 2013

Fights between siblings – from toy-snatching to clandestine whacks to being banished from the bedroom – are so common they’re often dismissed as simply part of growing up. Yet a new study from researchers at the University of New Hampshire finds that sibling aggression is associated with significantly worse mental health in children and adolescents. In some cases, effects of sibling aggression on mental health were the same as those of peer aggression.

“Even kids who reported just one instance had more mental health distress,” says Corinna Jenkins Tucker, associate professor of family studies at UNH and lead author of the research, published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics. “Our study shows that sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent.”

An important implication of this research, Tucker says, is that parents and caregivers should take sibling aggression seriously. “If siblings hit each other, there’s a much different reaction than if that happened between peers,” she says. ”It’s often dismissed, seen as something that’s normal or harmless. Some parents even think it’s beneficial, as good training for dealing with conflict and aggression in other relationships.” This research indicates that sibling aggression is related to the same serious mental health effects as peer bullying.

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Category(s):Child and/or Adolescent Issues, Child Development

Source material from http://www.tricitypsychology.com/sibling-aggression-linked-to-poor-mental-health/


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