Siblings may be good for something after all. Decades of research have shown that children with more siblings have no developmental advantage in social skills over only children, but a new study casts doubt on the prevailing wisdom.
Sociologists Douglas B. Downey and Dennis J. Condron of Ohio State University analyzed the social skills of 20,000 kindergarten students and discovered that children with more siblings had more interpersonal skills and better self-control. Moreover, socioeconomic status, parental age and education, race or participation in an after-school program made no difference in the disparity, although biological siblings proved to be more socially beneficial than step-siblings. Sibling gender was also unrelated to social skills, a surprising observation because research had suggested that a brother disrupts a child's academic performance more so than a sister.
This article was originally published with the title The Service of Siblings.