Intra-Family Bullying Bad for Kids’ Mental Health

From Psychiatric News Alert
The Voice of the American Psychiatric Association
and the Psychiatric Community

Bullying by brothers or sisters against their siblings is as bad as that from outsiders and is associated with worse children’s and adolescents’ mental health. A national sample of 3599 youth and caregivers reported greater mental health distress in the prior year if they experienced psychological, property, or mild or severe physical assault by their siblings, wrote Corinna Jenkins Tucker, Ph.D., of the Department of Family Studies, University of New Hampshire in Durham.

Sibling physical aggression was nearly as harmful as that by non-family peers, and combined aggression from within and outside the family caused nearly double the level of distress.

“Sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent… An implication of our work is that parents, pediatricians, and the public should treat sibling aggression as potentially harmful and something not to be dismissed as normal, minor, or even beneficial. The mobilization to prevent and stop peer victimization and bullying should expand to encompass sibling aggression as well.”

Tucker et al., in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics.

For more in Psychiatric News about bullying, click here.

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