Washington: Violations of personal space, unwanted borrowing of fashionable clothes, or arguments over whose turn is it to play a new video game, can fuel sibling squabbles that are linked to greater anxiety and lower self esteem in children.
"Our results show that conflicts about violations of personal space and property are associated with greater anxiety and lower self-esteem one year later in life," said Nicole Campione-Barr, assistant professor of psychological science at the Missouri University College of Arts and Science, Columbia.
Campione-Barr and colleagues studied 145 pairs of mostly European-American, middle-class siblings for one year. The average ages for the pairs were 15 and 12 years, the journal Child Development reports.
The teens rated different topics of possible conflict, noting the frequency and intensity of the arguments.
The arguments were organised into two categories: violations of personal domain or conflicts over fairness and equality.
The study then examined correlations among the arguments and teens' reports of depressed mood, anxiety and self-esteem after one year, according to a Missouri statement.
"Although parents may be inclined to step in as arbiters, previous research has found that parents' interventions into adolescent sibling conflict can be detrimental," said Campione-Barr.
Campione-Barr noted that one limitation to her study was that it was largely constrained in its demographic scope to white, middle-class Americans. Other cultures and economic classes may have a different relationships among privacy, fairness and emotional well-being.