Why the Bond Between Sisters Is Strongest of All
If you’re lucky you grew up with a sibling or two. But, if you’re really fortunate, you grew up with a sister.
While the bond between all siblings is strong, the strongest bond of all may be the one between two sisters, according to several scientific studies.
In 2010, Brigham Young University conducted a study of 395 families and found that having a sister positively influenced a young person’s life. As the study noted, having a sister helped the other sibling feel less lonely, guilty, fearful, and self-conscious throughout their youth. It also did not matter if the sister was younger or older, or how far apart the siblings were in age.
“Even after you account for parents’ influence, siblings do matter in unique ways,” Laura Padilla-Walker, the lead author of the study, wrote in the findings. “They give kids something that parents don’t.”
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This could be because siblings — sisters or otherwise — are the people we likely know the longest in our lives and are the ones by our side through thick and thin and for every life lesson in between.
"From the time they are born, our brothers and sisters are our collaborators and co-conspirators, our role models and cautionary tales,” Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, wrote in an article for TIME. “They are our scolds, protectors, goads, tormentors, playmates, counselors, sources of envy, objects of pride. They teach us how to resolve conflicts and how not to; how to conduct friendships and when to walk away from them. Sisters teach brothers about the mysteries of girls; brothers teach sisters about the puzzle of boys."
Even in older years, the bond between sisters shows some stunningly positive effects.
“In middle age, sisters are most often the organizers of celebrations marking passages,” Cathy Cress, a geriatric care management and aging expert, wrote in Psychology Today. “You and your reconnected sister can support each other to put in order the myriad details of midlife rituals, like christenings, weddings, and retirement. Genealogy becomes more important in midlife as you reach back to find your roots. Sisters are frequently the creators of lineage charts.”
But that’s not all. Science shows a host of other benefits to having a sister including how having a sister can influence you to be more successful in your career, and can even help mitigate stress in tough times. And all that is something having a brother simply cannot do.
Researchers from the University of Ulster surveyed 571 young adults between 17 and 25 and found sisters help other sisters to be more open communicators and more cohesive with their family. However, the researchers also found that brothers can have the opposite effect. So, the next time you feel like you feel the urge to bicker with your sister maybe take a little time to thank her for making you the person you are today instead.