BREAKING
First positive case of COVID-19 confirmed in Barton County
The Barton County Health Department reported the first confirmed positive case of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) in Barton County. Testing was confirmed on Monday, March 30 at 11 a.m.
Full Story
By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sibling 'rivalry' can do more harm than other bullying forms
5cf3e4a3e5e189651f925a51c1124618a70e751af47c269437885dcd3f8c38bd
Harsh sibling rivalry is common, can have lasting mental health impact and most often goes unreported, a new study says. The research also indicates it may make reporting of outside bullying less likely. - photo by Lois M. Collins
Brothers and sisters tease, argue and sometimes bully each other, often quite forcefully. Now a study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln indicates such sibling aggression may also undermine efforts to reduce peer bullying.

"We had theorized and discussed a little bit that maybe this is happening between people that presumably love each other and care about each other, so I think everyone just accepts it as normal behavior," said researcher Eve Brank, an associate professor of psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The study is published in the Journal of Family Violence. Brank, along with research assistant professor of psychology Lori Hoetger and psychology graduate student Katherine Hazen, surveyed nearly 400 undergraduate students to see their experiences with and thinking on sibling aggression, how or if it's reported and how that compares to bullying by individuals who are not related.

In a written statement, the researchers said they'd experienced it themselves, but were "still surprised to learn that most survey respondents considered sibling aggression normal and that respondents were hesitant to define it as bullying."

Even more surprising, they said, was the finding that those who experienced more sibling bullying were less likely to report other types of bullying to someone. "There seemed to be this sense that they were so used to it when they were younger, they might not see it as a big deal or that it was worthy of reporting," said Hoetger.

That's something school officials tackling bullying should consider and perhaps address, she said. Plus, there are other reasons to be concerned.

Katey Smith, a licensed clinical social worker with Family Centers in Connecticut, told NBC News that parents downplay home-based bullying more than they should.

The Deseret News explored both the negatives and positives of sibling rivalry, finding it is "not, however, always benign. A study in Pediatrics by researchers at the University of New Hampshire said rivalry can cross the line and that children victimized by a sibling were more likely to have mental health issues. Sibling aggression can be harmful, it said."

The author of the NBC News article, Tracy Connor, wrote of another study where "researchers from Oxford University discovered children who were bullied by a sibling at age 12 were twice as likely to report depression or anxiety at age 18.

Hoetger said there's a need for more research on the issue.