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Saturday, December 10, 2022

Having siblings positively affects children’s mental health

In the first years of a child’s life, the emotional, social and cognitive skills that lay the foundation for their development develop. Your health and achievements will largely depend on these skills. However, there are stressful environmental factors that can have a negative impact on their development in the medium and long term. One of them is maternal stress, which can have detrimental effects on the health and well-being of babies already during pregnancy.

A study conducted by a team of researchers based in Leipzig assessed 373 mother-infant pairs from pregnancy to age 10 years from the LENA cohort ((Lifestyle and environmental factors and their impact on neonatal allergy risk) longitudinally. The data were used by mothers filled out three questionnaires that were used to assess their stress levels and their children’s behavioral problems.

research

Whether having siblings had a positive effect on children’s behavior was studied

First, the researchers assessed “what social and environmental factors were related to the long-term consequences of maternal stress on increased levels of maternal stress during pregnancy and the development of child behavior problems.”

Second, it examined whether “having siblings had a positive effect on a child’s behavior problems, by reducing stress levels and increasing children’s psychological well-being, or indirectly by buffering the negative consequences of maternal stress.” “

Boy Meeting His Sister

boy meeting his sister

istockphoto

Study results showed that mothers who experienced high levels of stress during pregnancy were more likely to report behavioral problems when their children were 7, 8 or 10 years old. Federica Amici, one of the project researchers, explains that “these results confirm previous findings on the negative impact that even mild forms of prenatal stress can have on a child’s behavior even after many years, and highlight the importance of early intervention strategies.” uncovers that enhance maternal growth, well-being and reduce the risk of maternal stress already during pregnancy”.

On the positive side, the same study found that children with older siblings had a lower incidence of behavioral problems. “Children who have older brothers or sisters in their homes are less likely to develop problems, suggesting that siblings are important in promoting healthy child development,” explains Gunda Herberth, coordinator of the LENA study.

“By interacting with their older siblings, children can develop better emotional, perspective-taking, and problem-solving skills, which are linked to greater social competence and emotional understanding.”

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How can older siblings reduce the incidence of behavioral problems in children? “By interacting with their older siblings, children can develop better emotional, perspective-taking, and problem-solving skills, which are linked to greater social competence and emotional understanding. In addition, the presence of older siblings can help parents- may provide learning opportunities for fathers who have different expectations and develop better parenting skills.”

“We were particularly impressed by the important role that siblings play in healthy child development,” concluded Anja Widig. “We hope that our findings draw attention to the importance of public health policies that directly target children and their siblings, and promote a healthy environment for their well-being and the development of high-quality sibling relationships.” give.”

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