Having a sister makes you happier

Girls in the family make you more optimistic

Having a sister makes you happier and more optimistic, a new study shows.

Researchers quizzed 571 people aged 17 to 25 about their lives and found those who grew up with sisters were more likely to be happy and balanced.

Growing up with at least one girl in the family also makes people more able to cope with their problems – daughters tie loved ones closer together and encourage them to communicate their emotions more effectively, the researchers believe.
 
Prof Tony Cassidy, from the University of Ulster, who carried out the study with researchers from De Montfort University in Leicester, said: ‘Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families. However, brothers seem to have the alternative effect. Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.’

Girls who had sisters also tended to be more independent and keen on achievement, according to the findings. Prof Cassidy added that the lowest scores were among boys who had only brothers.

‘It could be that boys have a natural tendency not to talk about things,’ he said. ‘With boys together it is about a conspiracy of silence not to talk. Girls tend to break that down.’

The findings are due to be presented at the British Psychological Society in Brighton.

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