Sibling aggression could cause mental health issues

Fighting between siblings could cause stress and other mental health complaints in some children and adolescents.

According to a study conducted by Professor Corinna Jenkins Tucker, rows between brothers and sisters might seem benign at first, but can actually result in significant mood and stress management issues if left unresolved.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire looked at data from the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence – a sample of 3,599 children’s psychological profiles that covered people aged one to 17.

It was found that among the 32 per cent of youngsters who reported an argument with a sibling – mental health distress was significantly higher, especially if the altercations had a physical element, such as punching, kicking or spitting.

Professor Tucker says this shows parents need to pay more attention to disputes between their children and must attempt to foster improved relations between rowing brothers and sisters.

She added: “Our study shows that sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent … If siblings hit each other, there’s a much different reaction than if that happened between peers.”

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