Sibling fights over toys could lead to mental health problems in later life

Researchers looked at the cases of 3,599 children aged between one month and 17 years old including the effects of physical attacks, stealing or breaking a sibling's toys and psychological aggression.

Almost a third of the children studied reported at least one such incident and researchers found that those aged between one month and nine years old felt the most distress after being physically attacked than older children.

According to the study, which has been published in the medical journal Paediatrics, aggression between siblings could have the same bearing on mental health as bullying among peers.

Corinna Jenkins Tucker, the lead researcher to compile the study at the University of New Hampshire in the US, said: 'Even kids who reported just one instance had more mental health distress.

'Our study shows that sibling aggression is not benign for children and adolescents, regardless of how severe or frequent.'
She added that while some parents think that sibling fighting can even be beneficial to growing up it can have serious mental health implications.

She said: 'If siblings hit each other, there's a much different reaction than if that happened between peers.

The research team used data from The National Survey of Children's Exposure to Violence to complete the study.
Children were interviewed by phone about victimisation in the past year.
A parent or other adult caregiver answered on behalf of children under age 9.