Study: Sibling Rivalry May Lead to Depression
A recent study is suggesting that normal sibling rivalries may lead to some kids and teens developing depression and anxiety. While siblings often fight over things like privacy, borrowing things without permission and whose turn it is to use the Playstation 3, these arguments — ones which would seem normal to parents — may affect different kids in different ways.
The multi-year study that was conducted by a University of Missouri psychologist says that these findings can help parents learn how to keep the peace at home and help teach children how to better develop healthy psychological development.
"Our results show that conflicts about violations of personal space and property are associated with greater anxiety and lower self-esteem one year later in life," said Nicole Campione-Barr, MU assistant professor of psychological science in the College of Arts and Science. "Conflicts over issues of equality and fairness are correlated to greater depression one year later."
For this study, Campione-Barr and her colleagues analyzed data collected from 145 pairs of siblings in Europe and the United States for a year. The siblings, whose ages ranged from 15 to 12, were asked to rate different types of squabbles by how often they had them and how serious they were. The researchers categorized the arguments into two general types:
1) Violations of personal space; and
2) Arguments over fairness and equality.
The researchers next analyzed how the kids felt in terms of depression, anxiety and self-esteem after a period of one year.
"Although parents may be inclined to step in as arbiters, previous research has found that parents' interventions into adolescent sibling conflict can be detrimental," said Campione-Barr. "In concert with those prior findings, we believe our research suggests that setting household rules such as 'knock before entering a sibling's room' can be the best means for parents to resolve disputes and avoid appearing to play favorites.
"A calendar of chores and defined time limits for turns with a video game can help reduce conflicts over fairness," she adds. "However, if a parent notes that one child consistently gets the short end of the stick, action should be taken to ensure one child isn't being too subordinate. Also, if most sibling interactions become intense conflicts, a family should seek professional help, especially if violence is involved."
Depression is a serious condition that is affecting teens all over the world at a staggering rate. Most of the time, the kids are being treated with antidepressant medications like Paxil or Effexor. Both of those drugs have been known to cause serious side effects, which include violent and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. What's worse, both Paxil and Effexor have also been proven to be no more effective at treating depression than placebos.