Author: Dave O'Connell
~ 2 minutes read
A Different View with Dave O’Connell
It turns out that the Waltons were the exception rather than the rule – because while John Boy and the crew lived in each other’s pockets on Walton’s Mountain, it turns out that, for most people, families can be more of a hindrance than a help.
This is based on a study carried out at Ohio State University, looking at data from over 18,000 teenagers in China and America – and in a nutshell, it concludes that siblings are bad for your mental health.
In other words, the more siblings a teen has, the more likely they are to be depressed, anxious and suffer from low self-esteem.
That’s because high-achieving brothers or sisters can make you feel inadequate – and it’s probably not helped when pushy parents tend to shout of their children’s successes from the rooftops.
The reason for picking the US and China specifically was obvious – it was down to China’s one-child family policy (now under review as their population figures fall) which means that most of those surveyed didn’t have siblings whereas the Americans did.
The Journal of Family Issues reported that, in China, teens with no siblings showed the best mental health, while in the US, those with one or no sibling had similar mental health.
They further found that having older siblings and siblings closely spaced in age tended to have the worst impacts on well-being. Siblings born within one year of each other had the strongest negative association with mental health.
Doug Downey, lead author of the study and professor of sociology at Ohio State, said the overall findings fits with the ‘resource dilution’ explanation.
“If you think of parental resources like a pie, one child means that they get all the pie – all the attention and resources of the parents,” he expanded.
“But when you add more siblings, each child gets fewer resources and attention from the parents, and that may have an impact on their mental health.”
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:
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