Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Growing up without sibs doesn't hurt social skills

16.08.2010
Growing up without siblings doesn’t seem to be a disadvantage for teenagers when it comes to social skills, new research suggests.

A study of more than 13,000 middle and high school students across the country found that “only children” were selected as friends by their schoolmates just as often as were peers who grew up with brothers and sisters.

“I don’t think anyone has to be concerned that if you don’t have siblings, you won’t learn the social skills you need to get along with other students in high school,” said Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, co-author of the study and assistant professor of sociology at Ohio State University’s Marion campus.

Bobbitt-Zeher conducted the study with Douglas Downey, professor of sociology at Ohio State. They presented their research Aug. 16 in Atlanta at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

The concern that a lack of siblings might hurt children’s social skills has become more significant in recent years, Bobbitt-Zeher said.

“As family sizes get smaller in industrialized countries, there is concern about what it might mean for society as more children grow up without brothers and sisters,” she said.

“The fear is that they may be losing something by not learning social skills through interacting with siblings.”

In fact, a 2004 study by this study’s co-author, Douglas Downey, did find that children without siblings showed poorer social skills in kindergarten compared with those who had at least one sibling.

This new study was designed to see if that advantage to having siblings persists as children become adolescents.

Data from the study came from the National Study of Adolescent Health (ADD Health), which interviewed students in grades 7 through 12 at more than 100 schools nationwide during the 1994-95 academic year.

ADD Health used an innovative way to examine friendship among these students: each student was given a roster of all students at their school, and was asked to identify up to five male and five female friends.

“This allows us to consider how popular a student is by counting how many times peers identified him or her as a friend,” Bobbitt-Zeher said.

Overall, students in the study were nominated by an average of five other schoolmates as a friend. There were no significant differences in that number between those who had siblings, and those who had none.

The researchers examined a wide variety of situations and still found no difference. The number of siblings a teen had didn’t matter, and it didn’t matter if those siblings were brothers, sisters or some combination, or if they were stepsiblings, half-siblings or adopted siblings.

“In every combination we tested, siblings had no impact on how popular a student was among peers,” she said.

There is also a concern that parents who have large families are somehow different than other parents, and this may influence how popular their children are. So the researchers took into account a wide variety of other factors, including socioeconomic status, parents’ age, race, and whether a teen lives with both biological parents or not. None of these factors changed the relationship between number of siblings and social skills.

Why did this study find no effect of siblings on social skills, while Downey’s earlier study of kindergarteners did?

Bobbitt-Zeher noted that the two studies had different methods for estimating social skills, which may have played a role. The earlier study of kindergarteners was based on teacher ratings of social skills, while the teen study used friendship nominations by peers.

But more importantly, Bobbitt-Zeher said she believes that children learn a lot about getting along with others between kindergarten and high school.

“Kids interact in school, they’re participating in extracurricular activities, and they’re socializing in and out of school,” she said.

“Anyone who didn’t have that peer interaction at home with siblings gets a lot of opportunities to develop social skills as they go through school.”

Contact: Donna Bobbitt-Zeher, (740) 725-6180; bobbitt-zeher.1@osu.edu
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457; Grabmeier.1@osu.edu

Donna Bobbitt-Zeher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>