Apparently, Having A Sister Makes You Happier And More Optimistic

Apparently, Having A Sister Makes You Happier And More Optimistic

Researchers from De Montfort University and Ulster University noted that those who grew up with sisters were more likely to be happier than those who didn't.

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The next time you get angry at your sister over a misunderstanding, remember her mere existence makes you a much better and happier person and you might want to thank her for that. Well, it's not just us saying this. This comes from a study conducted by researchers from De Montfort University, UK and Ulster University, Northern Ireland. The study says that having a sister makes you a more optimistic person and one filled with joy. It is also noteworthy to mention that in case a sibling is a brother, it shows a slightly different result and points out that the relationship could be a loving one long as it was not combative.


For the study, the team from the two universities spoke to 571 people between the ages of 7 to 25 and asked them questions about their family life and their relationship with their siblings. These also included questions on their psychological state of mind. This was in turn used to gauge issues about their outlook towards life and general mental well-being and positive attitudes. The replies showed that those who grew up with sisters were more likely to be happy. The findings revealed that sisters are more encouraging of their siblings and they encourage them to be more open and communicative about their feelings.

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They say speaking about your burden to someone lessens it and this is what sisters encourage - opening up - and this leads to better mental health and a more positive and wholesome view about life, according to the researchers. "Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families," Professor Tony Cassidy, one of the authors of the study told The Independent.  Speaking about people with brothers, Cassidy added, "However, brothers seem to have the alternative effect."


He added, "Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families." Males have a different emotional understanding and way of communicating with the world including their loved ones and family. Cassidy said, "It could be that boys have a natural tendency not to talk about things. With boys together it is about a conspiracy of silence not to talk. Girls tend to break that down." This is not the case with sisters and the study could go a long way in helping individuals understand their own families based on the number of brothers or sisters they had, researchers said. 

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Cassidy said, "I think these findings could be used by people offering support to families and children during distressing times. We may have to think carefully about the way we deal with families with lots of boys." Back in 2010, a similar study was conducted by researchers at the Brigham Young University's School of Family Life, Utah, reports ABC New. The study was conducted in Seattle among 395 families with more than one child. The children were given a questionnaire about a sibling closest to his or her age. The same questions were asked a year later.

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Laura Padilla-Walker, a professor at the university and lead author on the study, said, "Just having a sister led to less depression. Sibling affection from either gender was related to less delinquency and more pro-social behaviors like greater kindness and generosity, volunteering and helping others." The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Family Psychology. Padilla-Walker added, "Even if there is a little bit of fighting, as long as they have affection, the positive will win out. If siblings get in a fight, they have to regulate emotions. That's an important skill to learn for later in life."

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