Kids Without Siblings Lack Social Skills: Study

Have more trouble getting along with no brothers or sisters

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THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Children who grow up with one or more siblings get along better with kindergarten classmates than do only children.

That's the conclusion of research in the new issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family.

In a national study of more than 20,000 children, teachers rated students who had at least one sibling as better able to:

  • Form and maintain friendships,
  • Get along with people who are different,
  • Comfort and help other children,
  • Express feelings in a positive way,
  • Show sensitivity to the feelings of others.

"Children without siblings were consistently rated as having poorer social skills," study co-author Douglas Downey, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University, said in a prepared statement.

"Siblings fight with each other, they have conflicts, but they also figure out how to resolve those conflicts," Downey continued. "That probably helps them deal with other children when they go to school."

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about sibling rivalry.

SOURCES: Ohio State University, news release, July 21, 2004


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