According to a new study, children who are bullied by their siblings on a regular basis are more likely to have mental health problems later in adolescence.
The study’s findings were published in the journal “Journal of Youth and Adolescence.”
The current study found that as the frequency of bullying grew in early-to-middle adolescence, so did the severity of mental health consequences in late adolescence, according to data from over 17,000 participants.
The study also discovered that sibling bullying in early adolescence had a long-term impact on both positive and bad mental health in late adolescence, regardless of whether the individual was a victim, perpetrator, or both.
Previous research has indicated that adolescence is a particularly vulnerable period for mental health deterioration, and that poor sibling relationships can play a crucial role in the development of mental health issues during this time.
“Whilst sibling bullying has previously been linked to poor mental health outcomes, it was not known whether there is a relationship between the persistence of sibling bullying and the severity of mental health outcomes in the longer term,” said lead author Dr Umar Toseeb of the University of York’s Department of Education.
We explored a wide range of mental health outcomes in the first study of its kind, including measures of both positive (e.g., wellbeing and self-esteem) and negative (e.g., symptoms of psychological distress) mental health,” Dr. Toseeb stated.
The fact that even individuals who bullied their siblings but were not bullied themselves (i.e. the bullies) had poorer mental health outcomes years later was particularly noteworthy, according to Dr. Toseeb.
Finally, the study found that minimising sibling bullying in early adolescence may enhance prevention and clinical interventions aiming at lowering mental health challenges and supporting positive mental health during late adolescence.
Data from the Millennium Cohort Study in the United Kingdom was used in the research. The project began in the early 2000s with the goal of learning more about children’s life in the twenty-first century.
At the ages of 11 and 14, young people filled out questions concerning sibling bullying, and at the age of 17, they filled out questionnaires about their mental health and well-being. When their children were 11, 14, and 17 years old, they filled out questionnaires about their mental health problems.