|Study: having a sister can make one happier|
|Written by Lisa Crocco, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 09 November 2010 21:21|
Having a sister makes people happier and has many psychological benefits, according to a recent study by Laura Padilla-Walker, psychology professor at Brigham Young University.
According to a BYU press release, the study included 395 families with more than one child, at least one of whom was an adolescent between 10 and 14-years-old.
The press release also said that statistical analyses showed that having a sister protected adolescents from feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious and fearful. It didn’t matter whether the sister was younger or older, or how far apart the siblings were age-wise.
“A benefit of having a sister is the shared history and the longevity of the relationship,” Dr. Karen Pfrost, associate professor of psychology, said. “A sister can provide built in social support.”
Sisters Stephanie Zegadlo, senior psychology major, and Mary Zegadlo, freshman mass media major, agree having a sister makes them happier.
“We know each other in a certain way someone else might not,” Stephanie Zegadlo said.
“You can share stuff with your sister that you can’t share with other people, only stuff that we would understand, such as inside jokes,” Mary Zegadlo said.
Their bond as sisters is strong and they consider one another friends in addition to being each other’s sister. Mary often goes to Stephanie for advice, since she is older and has been through many of the same situations before.
“If there is a positive relationship between the sisters, it is beneficial. If they [sisters] have an open relationship and have that person to go to for emotional support,” Carolyn Brown-Kramer, associate professor of psychology at Illinois Wesleyan University, said.
Even if someone does not have a biological sister, there can be a ‘sister substitute’ in a person’s life. An aunt, cousin or close friend can act as a sister that a person can share things with and lean on for emotional support, Pfrost said.
The press release said the study found that having a loving sibling of either gender promoted the sibling to do good deeds at an early age.
It also went on to say that loving siblings fostered charitable attitudes more than loving parents did. The relationship between sibling affection and good deeds was twice as strong as that between parenting and good deeds.
“I think that there is a lot of gender roles involved,” Brown-Kramer said. “Women are expected to provide emotional support, to be giving, to self-sacrifice, more so than men. That’s why we see it [a closer relationship] among sisters then brothers.”
“It is not inherently to having a sister,” Brown-Kramer said. “A brother who is emotionally available for his siblings and who you have a long relationship with can provide the same relationship as a sister can.”
Having a sister, as well as being a sister, is a life commitment because you are always going to be this person’s sibling and have a shared history, Brown-Kramer said.
“It’s cheesy to say, but we have a special bond,” Stephanie Zegadlo said.