If you’ve got a sister, you’ll know all about the downsides: they always used to get their own way, you were always the one who got blamed for things, and you had to deal with constant ‘jokes’ from your mates about how much they fancied her.
But it turns out that, actually, sisters are very useful, because they make you happier and more optimistic.
A study conducted by De Montfort University and Ulster University looked at 571 young people aged 17-25 and discovered that those who grew up with sisters were more likely to be happy. Psychological questionnaires were filled in by the test subjects and their answers used to asses a range of issues including mental health and a positive outlook.
Researchers believe that sisters encourage their siblings to be more open and communicative about their feelings which, in turn, aids good mental health.
Professor Tony Cassidy said: “Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families. However, brothers seem to have the alternative effect. Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health and having sisters promotes this in families.
“It could be that boys have a natural tendency not to talk about things. With boys together it is about a conspiracy of silence not to talk. Girls tend to break that down.”
He added that the findings were more pronounced with people whose parents had split up, saying: “I think these findings could be used by people offering support to families and children during distressing times. We may have to think carefully about the way we deal with families with lots of boys.”
So, kids, next time your sister refuses to go in goal when you want to practice your penalties, don’t get mad: as annoying as they are now, they’ll sort you right in the end.
Oh, and they can also, sometimes, be really funny.
(Main image: KPA/Zuma/Rex/Shutterstock, other Rex)