Having a sister makes you grow up happier and more positive, research finds

18 February 2020, 10:21 | Updated: 18 February 2020, 10:22

Having a sister reportedly makes you happier
Having a sister reportedly makes you happier. Picture: Getty Images

A study by De Montfort University and Ulster University has found sisters can improve mental health.

She might use up all the hot water and secretly eat all your chocolate stash, but it’s time to start appreciating your sister.

Yep, it turns out your (annoying) sibling could be having a positive effect on your mental health, with new research finding that people who grew up with a sister are more likely to be happier than those who didn’t.

More than 570 people between the ages of 17 and 25 were surveyed by Leicester’s De Montfort University and Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

Researchers then asked psychological questions about a number of different topics, including mental health.

Having a sister can make you more positive
Having a sister can make you more positive. Picture: Getty Images

And the findings showed that those with sisters were encouraged by their siblings to openly speak about their feelings more, giving them a more optimistic outlook on life.

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According to The Mirror, Professor Tony Cassidy, who carried out the study, revealed that sisters seem to “encourage more open communication and cohesion in families,” which is fundamental to good psychological health.

He added that brothers can have the “alternative effect.” continuing: "It could be that boys have a natural tendency not to talk about things.

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"With boys together it is about a conspiracy of silence not to talk. Girls tend to break that down."

Professor Tony Cassidy said these findings are especially useful during ‘distressing times’ such as parents splitting up.

Back in 2010, a similar study was carried out by Brigham Young University which found that those with sisters were kinder.

In the survey of 395 families which had more than one child, the research also discovered that having a brother can also be beneficial if your relationship with them is loving.

The study showed that growing up with a brother can make you a more sympathetic person and can also promote selflessness in teenagers, particularly among boys.

Speaking at the time, Researcher Laura Padilla-Walker told ABC News: "Sibling affection from either gender was related to less delinquency and more pro-social behaviours like greater kindness and generosity, volunteering and helping others."

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