Study Finds Possible Depression Predictor in Poor Sibling Relationships
> 6/4/2007 1:11:08 PM

Small spats among brothers and sisters have been around as long as there have been brothers and sisters, but new research now suggests that more serious childhood sibling strife could be directly linked to depression in adults. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, siblings who had better relationships reported fewer incidents of depression later in their lives.

Dr. Robert Waldinger, director of the Study of Adult Development at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, led the study and speaking with, said:

"Among a group of men studied since their late teens, those who said they didn't have a close relationship with even one of their siblings were more likely to be depressed by the time they were 50�.

Researchers were hesitant to draw any strong conclusions, but Waldinger pointed out that siblings who have closer relationships could be beneficial to one another in the development of the necessary skills needed in dealing with peers. It could even be possible though, that the link works the other way, and those individuals who are predisposed to depression might have rockier relationships with siblings as they grow up. In either case, as the study�s abstract notes, there is a statistical link between poor sibling relationships and major depression later in life.

With scientific research now in support, it appears as if what our mothers used to tell us about being kind to our siblings could be true. Siblings can be the source of much conflict and annoyance, but as the research suggests, they can also provide a powerful source of healing and camaraderie that can serve as a boon to our mental health as well.

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