Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sibling squabbles can lead to depression, anxiety

Date:
December 20, 2012
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Holiday presents will soon be under the tree for millions of adolescents. With those gifts may come sibling squabbles over violations of personal space, such as unwanted borrowing of a fashionable clothing item, or arguments over fairness, such as whose turn it is to play a new video game. Those squabbles represent two specific types of sibling conflict that can have different effects on a youth's emotional health, according to a multi-year study by a psychologist.

Holiday presents will soon be under the tree for millions of adolescents. With those gifts may come sibling squabbles over violations of personal space, such as unwanted borrowing of a fashionable clothing item, or arguments over fairness, such as whose turn it is to play a new video game. Those squabbles represent two specific types of sibling conflict that can have different effects on a youth's emotional health, according to a multi-year study by a University of Missouri psychologist. With these findings, parents can learn how to bring peace to the home and encourage their children's healthy psychological development.

"Our results show that conflicts about violations of personal space and property are associated with greater anxiety and lower self-esteem one year later in life," said Nicole Campione-Barr, MU assistant professor of psychological science in the College of Arts and Science. "Conflicts over issues of equality and fairness are correlated to greater depression one year later."

Campione-Barr and her colleagues studied 145 pairs of mostly European-American, middle-class siblings for one year. The average ages for the pairs were 15 and 12 years. The teens rated different topics of possible conflict, noting the frequency and intensity of the arguments. The arguments were organized into two categories: violations of personal domain or conflicts over fairness and equality. The study then examined correlations among the arguments and teens' reports of depressed mood, anxiety and self-esteem after one year.

"Although parents may be inclined to step in as arbiters, previous research has found that parents' interventions into adolescent sibling conflict can be detrimental," said Campione-Barr. "In concert with those prior findings, we believe our research suggests that setting household rules such as 'knock before entering a sibling's room,' can be the best means for parents to resolve disputes and avoid appearing to play favorites. A calendar of chores and defined time limits for turns with a video game can help reduce conflicts over fairness. However, if a parent notes that one child consistently gets the short end of the stick, action should be taken to ensure one child isn't being too subordinate. Also, if most sibling interactions become intense conflicts, a family should seek professional help, especially if violence is involved."

Campione-Barr noted that one limitation to her study was that it was largely constrained in its demographic scope to white, middle-class Americans. Other cultures and economic classes may have different relationships among privacy, fairness and emotional well-being. Although adolescents in some households may not have their own rooms, they still need some degree of respect for personal space from both parents and siblings. For example, parents and siblings should respect the private nature of children's diaries.

"The next step in our research will be to examine the positive aspects of relationships among adolescent siblings and parents," said Campione-Barr. "Strong, healthy family relationships are immensely beneficial later in life. For example, there are things people will tell their siblings that they would never tell their parents, or possibly even friends. We are currently studying disclosure and levels of trust among parents, siblings and peers."

The study, "Differential associations between domains of sibling conflict and adolescent emotional adjustment," was published in the journal Child Development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nicole Campione-Barr et al. Differential associations between domains of sibling conflict and adolescent emotional adjustment. Child Development, (in press)

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Sibling squabbles can lead to depression, anxiety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220080453.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2012, December 20). Sibling squabbles can lead to depression, anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220080453.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Sibling squabbles can lead to depression, anxiety." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121220080453.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins