A new study that analyzed kids in the US and China has found that teens from larger families have poorer mental health than those with fewer or no siblings.
The study points out that the details of the pattern vary depending on factors such as the spacing of sibling ages and the age of the siblings. But the overall pattern found in both countries is striking.
And having older siblings and siblings closely spaced in age tended to have the worst impacts on well-being, the U.S. data found.
Siblings born within one year of each other had the strongest negative association with mental health.
Why is this? More kids mean having to compete for attention from parents and battle siblings for a turn on the PlayStation…Fighting over toys, times and clothes isn’t good for one’s mental state.
There is a flip side to this…While this study shows a negative impact on siblings, other research has shown that having more brothers and sisters is associated with better social skills among kindergarteners and a lower likelihood of divorce among adults.
This study is important as many countries around the world including Canada have lower fertility rates lately-meaning people are having less or no kids.
Understanding the consequences of growing up with fewer or no brothers and sisters is an increasingly important social issue.