(HealthDay News) – Sibling aggression has a detrimental effect on children’s and adolescents’ mental health, according to a study published online June 17 in Pediatrics.

Corinna Jenkins Tucker, PhD, from the University of New Hampshire in Durham, and colleagues analyzed a national probability sample conducted among youth aged 10–17 years or adult caregivers for children aged 0–9 years (3,599 participants) about past-year victimizations.

The researchers found that greater mental health distress was reported by those who had experienced sibling aggression (e.g. psychological, property, mild or severe physical assault) in the last year. In the case of mild physical assault, but not other types of sibling aggression, greater mental health distress was seen for those aged 0–9 years than for older children. Worse mental health was independently and uniquely predicted by sibling and peer aggression.

“The possible importance of sibling aggression for children’s and adolescents’ mental health should not be dismissed,” the authors write. “The mobilization to prevent and stop peer victimization and bullying should expand to encompass sibling aggression as well.”

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)