Is your brother bad news?
Are brothers really bad for us? Yes, according to research being presented to British Psychological Society in Brighton today.
Researchers from Ulster University suggest that people who grow up with sisters are more likely to be happy and balanced.
They nearly 600 people aged 17 to 25 and concluded that having daughters in a family made people more open and willing to discuss feelings. They claimed the influence of girls was particularly important after distressing family events such as marital break-ups.
The rersearch included psychological questionnaires looking at attitudes and mental health.
Sisters encourage openness
Lead researcher Professor Tony Cassidy told the BBC:'Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families. However, brothers seemed to have the alternative effect.'
He said 'emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.'
Many of the participants had been brought up in families where parents had split and, said Cassidy, the impact of sisters was even more marked in these circumstances.
'I think these findings could be used by people offering support to families and children during distressing times. We may have to think carefully about the way we deal with families with lots of boys.'
The BBC also quote Geri Burnikell, the co-ordinator of the charity Support Line, which offers counselling to young people and families. He said: 'this certainly chimes with our experiences. Boys tend to internalise problems and in families where there are lots of sons I can see that can cause problems.
'I think the most important thing in these circumstances is to give people someone independent to talk to outside the immediate family unit.'
Page created on April 2nd, 2009
Page updated on December 1st, 2009