Although my second son is only six months old, I can already see that a bond has formed between him and his older brother. No one can make that baby laugh like my three-year old jumping up and down on the bed. Take a quick look.
I just learned that this fondness for each other may protect them from becoming depressed later on in life. A landmark study published in this month’s American Journal of Psychiatry found that a close relationship with at least one sibling in childhood lowered the risk for depression in adulthood.
According to a press release issued by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where the study took place, the research lasted 68 years and is one of the longest longitudinal studies of adult psychosocial development ever conducted.
Beginning in their late teens, 229 men were evaluated for the quality of their childhood relationships with siblings, the quality of parenting they received, family history of depression and the occurrence by age 50 of major depression.
Researchers found that even after taking into account the quality of relationship with parents, both poorer relationships with siblings during childhood and a family history of depression independently predicted both the occurrence of major depression and the frequency of use of mood-altering drugs by age 50.
I’m surprised to know that the relationship with the parents was not a factor in predicting future depression. And now I’ll be even more glad to hear my little guy giggling and smiling at his proud older brother. The happiness may last them a lifetime.