Sibling Bullying may be associated with Anxiety, Depression in Victims

By  , Medical News Today
Jun 18, 2013

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Brother and sister fightingAccording to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, fights and teasing between brothers and sisters may appear like a normal part of childhood, but for some kids the bullying may be linked to anxiety and depression. Bullying in general has derived a lot of attention, but the kind between siblings has always been tipped off to be normal even when slight bullying between peers is not tolerated.

Corinna Jenkins Tucker, lead researcher of the study and an associate professor of family studies at the University of New Hampshire, said that sibling aggression has been dismissed as normal and it has been said to be benign or even good for kids because it helps them to learn about dealing with the harsh realities of the world.

To do the study, researchers from the University of Hampshire, interviewed over 3,500 children between the age group of 1 month to 17 years and also some of their parents about the different measure of aggression that is exhibited by the siblings. The researchers later examined the range or levels of sibling aggression that was endured by the interviewees and the following measures were observed:

  • physical assault with and without an injury or weapon
  • breaking siblings’ belongings on purpose
  • stealing something from the child with or without force
  • saying things to make the child feel scared, bad or unwanted.

The mental health of each patient was also evaluated and it was found that sibling aggression during the last 12 months was associated with worse mental health for both the teens and children. Distress was observed in children and teens that experienced severe and mild forms of sibling aggression.

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