Another Reason To Show Some Sister Love

   By drodriguez  Aug 06, 2010

After hearing news about a recent study out regarding the benefits of having siblings, you may want to call up your sister to thank her.  It was found that having a sister can decrease symptoms of depression and lessen the feeling of loneliness throughout your life.  The study, coming from Brigham Young University, shows that the sister to sister relationship has the best outcomes, but the sister to brother relationship also has many positive aspects as well.

What makes sisters so special?  A recent report from CBS News discusses the findings from the sister study.  Child psychologist, Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, explains the reasons why a sister can lead to better mental health outcomes for her siblings.  Hartstein says, “Girls tend to be a much more social, interactive kind of role in a different way than a brother would.  So, it’s really also sister to sister.  That’s important to think about, is sisters are learning from their older sisters or younger sisters, how to be caring, how to look out for, how to watch out for emotional needs of one another.”

Even if the relationship you have with your sister is steeped in competition, researchers say this can be healthy too. Competition with a sister can help you later in life when you navigate through this type of conflict in the work place.  Jealousy can often enter into a sister relationship with one sister being more “famous” than the other, but the sister bond often wins out even through this type of conflict.  

Hartstein advises parents to encourage a deeper bond between their children by engaging them in activities they can do together.  The more siblings work together the more they will communicate. And even though this will sometimes lead to arguments, Hartstein says that as long as they talk it out later their bond will only grow stronger in the future.

What do you think of the recent study showing that sisters make siblings happier?

If you have a sister, do you feel you have benefited from this relationship?

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musicmomma by musicmomma | LONG VALLEY, NJ
Nov 02, 2010

My mom died 10 years ago and besides my sister is really the only family I had a relationship with now. Unfortunately, my sister broke up our relationship over the summer because of something said between our husbands. I have felt so alone for months now. We used to speak every day on the phone. I have a void in my life that can't be explained. I miss my sister and hope our relationship can go back to they way it used to be.....

kellenmom by kellenmom | OMAHA, NE
Sep 06, 2010

don't have a sister but really wish that I did.

redshoesnob42 by redshoesnob42 | Portland, OR
Aug 27, 2010

I don't have a sister and sometimes I am soooo glad! I watch two of my female cousins that are siblings go at it all the time. One is the baby of the family, the other the middle child and they seem to resent each others presence on the planet! I have a younger brother and could not imagine my life without him. Our gender difference I feel makes us closer. We can talk about any and everything, and do. We travel together, consult each other about child rearing, spouses, politics, cook together. Its great! It's like having a sister that can give you a mans take on things. Plus, no one better dare bother his sis! BTW, he is not gay.

1honeyjean by 1honeyjean | Lexington, NC
Aug 25, 2010

Growing up, my little sister and I fought constantly. Now that we are adults, we are inseperable. She truely is my best friend. I kinow that she will always be there for me and vice versa. We've helped each other through some pretty tough times. I don't know what I would do without my sister.

kayakgirl by kayakgirl | Dellroy, OH
Aug 15, 2010

I definitely agree with this study, my sister and I are three years apart (both of us in our 50's) and we've always had a strained relationship up until about 4 years ago. Now we are very close, appreciate each other's differences and enjoy our time together.

jameslicex0 by jameslicex0 | Wayne, MI
Aug 10, 2010

I can really appreciate this study. My sister and I are about 22 months apart, we haven't always fought, but we don't have a great relationship either. I appreciate having my sister around and I know she looks up to me, which is special. Even though we disagree, we are our own persons and I can value her opinions and appreciate her insight.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Aug 09, 2010

My sister and I are 7 years apart. We were never that close growing up. We are closer now, but I still wouldn't say we have a great relationship. I think part of it was that she never had kids and I did and she just didn't have "time" to relate to me or my family because she is living a different kind of life than I am.

girl17 by girl17 | EAGAN, MN
Aug 09, 2010

I love having a sister and am so glad I have 2 daughters!

rbp1952 by rbp1952 | Houston, TX
Aug 09, 2010

I have a younger sister and we are so close that at times, we are like one person. We disagree on many issues, but we are always there for each other. I am an 8-year breast cancer survivor and my sister supported me every step of the way through treatment. She went to chemo every week with me and then took care of me after surgery 8 years ago. Two years ago I was hospitalized for 75 days and then home 6 months recovering. Once again, my sister was there every day to take care of me. I try to help her in every way that I can, but I feel that I usually fall short. I give her emotional support and she gives me physical support. She says I am her rock, but she is my mountain!

MadHatter by MadHatter | Whitestone , NY
Aug 09, 2010

i have to disagree, i have an older sister and we can't get along what so ever. I do not know what happened, we used to be close when we were young, but as she got older, the more her attitude turned sour. I mean she has always been bossy and demanding and if she doesn't get her way, she will not talk to you for MONTHS. everyone in the family gets along fine, except for her. We all agree that she is a lost cause. spoiled beyond fixing. I don't believe we would ever have a relationship as close as we had back then and its sad to know.

tjaksv by tjaksv | WYOMING, MI
Aug 08, 2010

I have an older sister and 5 younger ones ... as an adult I love having sisters and knowing we are there for each other no matter what... it sometimes makes me sad to think that my daughter will not be having a sister to grow up with.. because all us sisters are so close our kids are basically siblings and behave as such (my 3 year old niece tells everyone she has a brother & sister.. she is referring to my kids). I do try to foster a good relationship between my two children.. they really do care and look out for each other.

Brindamorr by Brindamorr | NEW WINDSOR, NY
Aug 08, 2010

I have to agree. I love all of my siblings so much, but my sister and I are each others pillars.

2carrie2 by 2carrie2 | GRAND RAPIDS, MI
Aug 07, 2010

I have both older sisters and younger sisters and no matter what, they are always there for me when I need someone to talk to. My siblings are spread out through the world and no matter what we are there for each other.

flower54 by flower54 | Cookeville, TN
Aug 07, 2010

I have an older sister, we always got along. I've moved, so we're not in the same area any more. But we talk to each other at 3 times a week. Our conversations are as if we were sitting & chatting over coffee. We are best friends can tell each other anything, talk about any problems or feelings, without judgement. It's all unconditional love. Have a sister is a huge benefit for me!!

dellie71 by dellie71 | Ooltewah, TN
Aug 06, 2010

As children, my (older) sister and I fought like cats and dogs. It wasn't until we both were married and had children that we really became close. Now, we both enjoy a very open, caring and accepting relationship with each other. As a matter of fact, we just returned from vacation where both of our families spent a week together at the beach! My sister and I know, that no matter what, we will be there for each other. I am truly thankful for my relationship with my sister. Oh BTW--we were both adopted at birth and have no genetic link whatsoever!