Research: Having a Sibling Makes You Feel Better, Live Longer

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

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, published earlier this week, 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 analysis 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

Photo credit: Irina Schmidt / Shutterstock

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less