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Having a sibling helps you live longer, researchers say

Despite all those early quarrels, research suggests that having a sibling greatly improves your behavioral development and quality of life.

Photo credit: Irina Schmidt / Shutterstock

Growing up with a sibling may boost one’s physical and mental well-being, especially later in life, says Abigail Wise at RealSimple. Wise’s article on these findings, published in 2014, features a bevy of links to various bits of research supporting the many benefits of siblinghood.

Not only do brothers and sisters help each other develop important behavioral traits, various studies have found links between having siblings and living a longer, fitter life. The latest research suggests that brothers and sisters make us more selfless:

New research suggests that having a sibling may help children develop sympathy. Researchers examined the relationship between siblings in more than 300 families and found having a quality relationship with a brother or sister may promote altruism in teens, especially boys.

Although some would no doubt argue against it, additional research has shown that sisters help boost our mental health:

Results of a statistical analysts of nearly 400 families showed that, regardless of age-distance, having a sister protected adolescents against feeling lonely, unloved, guilty, self-conscious, and fearful.

Wise also notes that having a sibling means you’re more likely to have close ties to someone dear to you later in life. Research suggests that lacking such a connection has a similar effect on one’s health as smoking cigarettes:

Not only can siblings boost mental health and physical fitness, but strong social ties may help you live longer, according to research published in the journal PLoS Medicine. On average, those with poor social connections died about 7.5 years earlier than those with solid bonds to friends and family.

Take a look at Wise’s article (linked again below) to read more about the benefits of having siblings. I suppose we can forgive our brothers and sisters the occasional quarrel if their existence alone makes it more likely we feel better and live longer.

Read more at RealSimple.


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