Forget about sibling rivalry or cat fights after she finds out that you left pit stains in the shirt you secretly borrowed. Nothing beats having a sister. In fact a recent study conducted by Brigham Young University researcher, Laura Padilla-Walker, found that people who have sisters are happier than those who have brothers.
“Siblings do matter in unique ways,” Padilla-Walker told Science Daily. “They give kids something that parents don’t.” The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, studied more than 395 families with adolescent children between the ages of 10 and 14 years old.
Growing up with sisters makes people feel more protected, Padilla-Walker’s study claims, and those who do are less likely to get depressed. Researchers found that older and younger sisters are great at preventing depression and delinquency because girls are more likely to take on roles of a caregiver and monitor actions.
“For parents of younger kids, the message is to encourage sibling affection,” Padilla-Walker said. “Once they get to adolescence, it’s going to be a big protective factor.”
Yet with that need to protect and govern the little chickadees come the cat fights or dissidence that can arise from sisters not wanting to live within each other’s shadows. According to the study, fighting is both good and bad.
The research showed that hostility was indeed associated with greater risk of delinquency. However, the data still allows for some sunshine in between the rain: Sibling rivalry and fights teach children skills in making up and controlling emotions—skills that will be important beyond teenage years.
Perhaps it’s true. Sisters are a girl’s greatest resource. Older ones have been there-done that, can prepare you for job interviews, or pass down fly outfits, and are concerned about the guys you date because they have your best interest at heart. Little ones, although they might have seemed both adorable and peskier, teach you how to love through their fond adoration expressed through copying and make you better role models for them. They’re the ones you seek make-up advice from and the ones you picked up afterschool when the parents worked late and didn’t want to leave them stranded.