Study: Sibling Bullying Should Not Be Dismissed

Siblings who are acting aggressively toward each other is a common occurrence in most households, and because of that many parents often dismiss it. Who hasn’t been beat up or tormented by a brother or sister? But a new study in the journal Pediatrics suggests that parents should pay closer attention.

The study, which analyzed nearly 3,600 phone interviews with children and caregivers shows that children who are bullied by their siblings are more mentally distressed than those who aren’t.

Researchers wanted to examine whether being a victim of various forms of sibling aggression is associated with children’s and adolescent’s mental health distress. They also weighed in the different consequences of sibling versus peer aggression.

Children ages 0 to 9 (whose caregivers were interviewed) and children ages 10 to 17 that experienced sibling aggression in the past year including psychological, property, mild or severe physical assault, reported greater mental health distress. The younger children showed greater mental distress when it came to mild physical assault.

The study also showed that regardless if kids were bullied inside the home by siblings or outside the home by peers, they had mental anguish.

Bullying has been a hot topic in recent years after a rash of teens ended their own lives, citing bullying as the reason why. According to, 25 percent of children are being bullied.
Living in the digital world, cyber bullying is a new phenomenon. Some statistics suggest that up to 40 percent of kids have been harassed online.

There has been a lot of work done focusing on preventing and stopping bullying among peers. This study suggests that bullying should expand to encompass sibling aggression as well.

About the Author...
Liz Hayes
Liz loves spending time outdoors, working out, traveling, taking in the arts, reading and catching up on TV.

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