Sibling Bullying in Early Adolescence linked to Mental Health outcomes in Future

Sibling Bullying in Early Adolescence linked to Mental Health outcomes in Future

Bullying by a brother or sister as a child can have long-term consequences, threatening mental health in adolescence, according to new British research. The researchers discovered that as the frequency of bullying increased in early to middle adolescence, so did the severity of mental health problems in late adolescence.

A new study suggests that young people who are repeatedly bullied by siblings are more likely to suffer from poor mental health and wellbeing issues later in adolescence. The new study, which examined data from over 17,000 participants, discovered that as the frequency of bullying increased in early-to-middle adolescence, so did the severity of mental health outcomes in late adolescence.

The study also discovered that sibling bullying in early adolescence has a long-term effect on both positive and negative mental health in late adolescence, regardless of whether the individual was a victim, perpetrator, or both.

Young people who are repeatedly bullied by siblings are more likely to suffer from poor mental health and wellbeing issues later in adolescence, a new study has suggested.

Previous research has shown that adolescence is a particularly vulnerable period for mental health deterioration, and that problematic sibling relationships can play a significant role in the development of mental health difficulties during adolescence.

Participants were a part of the Millennium Cohort Study, which began in the early 2000s in the United Kingdom. While young people aged 11 and 14 completed questionnaires about sibling bullying and their own mental health at the age of 17, their parents also completed questionnaires about their child’s mental health at those ages. The researchers discovered that as the frequency of bullying increased in early to middle adolescence, so did the severity of mental health problems in late adolescence.

According to the study, adolescence is a particularly vulnerable period for mental health deterioration. Sibling relationships can play a role in the development of these issues. Prevention strategies and clinical interventions that reduce sibling bullying in early adolescence, according to the researchers, may improve mental health outcomes in later adolescence.

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Sibling bullying associated with poor mental health outcomes years later

Childhood and adolescence are particularly vulnerable periods for mental health deterioration. Problematic sibling relationships are a major modifiable risk factor that may have a significant impact on the development of mental health during adolescence. It is unclear whether sibling bullying in early adolescence is associated with both positive and negative long-term mental health, and whether the developmental trajectories of mental health difficulties differ depending on the sibling bullying role (i.e., uninvolved, victim-only, bully-only, bully-victim).

“Whilst sibling bullying has previously been linked to poor mental health outcomes, it was unknown whether there is a relationship between the persistence of sibling bullying and the severity of mental health outcome in the longer term,” said lead author Dr Umar Toseeb from the University of York’s Department of Education.

“In the first study of its kind, we looked at a wide range of mental health outcomes, including measures of both positive (eg, wellbeing and self-esteem) and negative (eg, symptoms of psychological distress).”

“Of particular note was the discovery that even those who bullied their siblings but were not bullied themselves (ie the bullies) had poorer mental health outcomes years later,” Dr. Toseeb added.

Finally, the paper suggests that reducing sibling bullying in early adolescence may benefit prevention and clinical interventions aimed at reducing mental health difficulties and promoting positive mental health during late adolescence.

The data used in the study came from the Millennium Cohort Study, which is based in the United Kingdom. The study was established in the early 2000s to investigate children’s lives in the twenty-first century. At the ages of 11 and 14, young people completed questionnaires about sibling bullying, and at the age of 17, they completed questionnaires about their mental health and well-being. When their children were 11, 14, and 17 years old, their parents filled out questionnaires about their child’s mental health issues.

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