Older brothers are more likely to bully siblings than older sisters. This is the finding of research by Dr Menesini from the Universita' degli Studi Di Firenze (Florence, Italy), whose findings were published in the British Journal of Developmental Psychology.
The study set out to investigate the effects of birth order, gender, personality and family relationship qualities on sibling bullying. 195 children aged 10-12 years old who had siblings that were no more than 4 years older or younger completed questionnaires that gauged their experiences of bullying.
They were asked a range of questions regarding whether they had bullied anyone or been a victim. The results showed that children with older brothers were more likely to report being bullied at home and that boys were more likely to bully if they had a younger sister or brother. This was not the case with older sisters -- they were more likely to bully a sibling based on the quality of their relationship rather than their older age.
Dr Menesini said: "It's likely that older sisters are raised to be responsible and protective towards their younger siblings. Older brothers are more likely to be hierarchical and seek to dominate these relationships and maintain this with daily bullying.
- Ersilia Menesini, Marina Camodeca, Annalaura Nocentini. Bullying among siblings: The role of personality and relational variables. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 2010; 28 (4): 921 DOI: 10.1348/026151009X479402
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