Siblings, and Their Importance in Each Other’s Mental Health

Published on: May 2, 2022 

There is nothing quite like a sibling bond! Siblings are, often, a child’s primary playmate and an adult’s oldest friend, but sibling interactions can play a role in changing and having unexpected psychological consequences as well. Indeed, the quality of mental health in sibling relationships is one of the most important determinants of their inborn relationships. And that connection makes your siblings more influential in each other's mental health.

It is about relaxation when you are sitting in the same room with your sibling, quiet, but you both understand how the other person is feeling. It is about continuing where you left off, even if it has been weeks, months, or years. It is about the knowledge that, at the end of the day, you will always be able to call that person for support. This ability to accurately understand others and their unequal responsibility can have a positive or negative impact on their emotional and physical well-being. For example, the mental illness of one of your siblings may affect the quality of life of another.

Scientists in the Netherlands have now compiled an international study examining the role of siblings in children's mental health. This is a new step as there is a lot of research on parenting but not so much about your siblings. Moreover, the Scientist’s relationship with siblings is “one of the most neglected relationships in research and psychology.”

For the meta-analysis, it is necessary to select the most specific research topics to be able to integrate studies mathematically. In this case, the researchers looked at the link between the quality of sibling relationships and the child's psychopathology including data on:

  • Researchers are expected to see a positive relationship between sibling conflict and pediatric psychopathology, which has a profound impact on external problems.
  • Brotherly warmth (e.g., intimacy, love, support, friendship).
  • Brotherly conflict (e.g., quarreling, fighting, anger, hostility, apathy, coercion) and
  • Alternative therapies (identified by parental behavior that is not equal to them)on the one hand, and internal problems as well as external problems on the other.

This meta-analysis shows that the quality of sibling relationships is related to the mental health of children. It is important to remember that the Scientists included cross-sectional data. We cannot conclude with the direction of the result: it is possible that the mental health of the children influences the relationship between siblings and so on. The conflict between siblings emerged as an important link in a child's mental health, both internal and external. The Scientists offer several explanations, including the fact that children may learn immorality by fighting with siblings and that ‘evil is stronger than good’; bad events can have a greater impact than good events.

For more information about Mental Health Conditions. Visit our Mental Health Library page.  To understand and cope with your psychological symptoms, get help from our Top 10 Psychiatrists, Psychologists, and Therapists who are known for providing the best mental health treatment and psychiatry services. To book an appointment please call us at (800) 457-4573 or submit an appointment request.

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