Sibling Bullying More Common Than Schoolyard Bullying
Jim Liebelt Jim Liebelt's Blog
- 2015 Feb 19
*The following is excerpted from an online article from the NBC News.
The biggest bullies might not be in the playground, but in the top bunk.
That's the takeaway from a new study that says sibling torment could be more common than aggression at school or in the neighborhood — and the perpetrators and victims don't even see it as bullying.
"Rivalry is one word that they used," said Lori Hoetger, one of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers who authored the study published in the Journal of Family Violence.
Her team questioned nearly 400 undergraduates about their experiences as children, using a checklist of physical and verbal behaviors that fit an academic definition of bullying if they are repeated over time.
To their surprise, the students reported bullying dynamics with brothers or sisters more often than with other peers. And those who had been bullied by a sibling were less likely to report someone else being harassed to an authority figure.
"We think that's because people who are experiencing sibling bullying somehow normalize it," Hoetger said.
A study last year by the University of New Hampshire found that the 32 percent of children who reported being victimized by a brother or sister suffered higher rates of mental-health distress. 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.