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 Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

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: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>