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Author Lawson, David W. ♦ Mace, Ruth
Source World Health Organization (WHO)-Global Index Medicus
Content type Text
Publisher Elsevier
File Format HTM / HTML
Language English
Difficulty Level Medium
Subject Domain (in DDC) Philosophy & psychology ♦ Psychology ♦ Social sciences ♦ Sociology & anthropology ♦ Natural sciences & mathematics ♦ Life sciences; biology ♦ Natural history of organisms ♦ Technology ♦ Medicine & health ♦ Incidence & prevention of disease ♦ Diseases ♦ Manufacture for specific uses ♦ Precision instruments & other devices
Subject Domain (in MeSH) Eukaryota ♦ Organisms ♦ Investigative Techniques ♦ Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment ♦ Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms ♦ Psychological Phenomena and Processes ♦ Mental Disorders ♦ Psychiatry and Psychology ♦ Social Sciences ♦ Anthropology, Education, Sociology and Social Phenomena ♦ Persons ♦ Persons
Subject Keyword Discipline Medicine ♦ Birth Order ♦ Child Behavior Disorders ♦ Epidemiology ♦ Mental Health ♦ Sibling Relations ♦ Siblings ♦ Psychology ♦ Child ♦ Child, Preschool ♦ Family Characteristics ♦ Female ♦ Humans ♦ Longitudinal Studies ♦ Male ♦ Parent-child Relations ♦ Socioeconomic Factors ♦ Questionnaires ♦ Great Britain ♦ Journal Article ♦ Research Support, Non-u.s. Gov't
Abstract The social and health sciences have often emphasised the negative impacts of large sibship size and late birth order on childhood. For example, it is now well established that, other things being equal, children in large families and/or with many older siblings, receive lower allocations of care time from both parents, are more likely to grow up in conditions of economic hardship, and, as a likely consequence, exhibit relatively poor educational and physical health outcomes. Few researchers have, however, quantitatively assessed how siblings may influence indicators of mental health, where it is conceivable that social interactions with siblings may have a positive influence. Here, using data from a large British cohort survey (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children), we explored the effects of sibling configuration on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, as a multidimensional index for mental health problems. We demonstrate a significant socio-economic gradient in mental health between the ages of three and nine years, but little evidence for negative effects of large sibship size. Rerunning this analysis to examine birth order, a much clearer pattern emerged; the presence of older siblings was associated with relatively good mental health, while the presence of younger siblings was associated with relatively poor mental health. This suggests that being born into a large family, providing the child is not joined by subsequent siblings, may carry important benefits unconsidered by past research. We discuss possible interpretations of this pattern and the wider implications for understanding the family context of child development.
Description Country affiliation: United kingdom
Author Affiliation: Lawson DW ( Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK. David.Lawson@lshtm.ac.uk)
ISSN 02779536
Educational Role Student ♦ Teacher
Age Range above 22 year
Educational Use Reading ♦ Research ♦ Self Learning
Interactivity Type Expositive
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2010-06-01
Publisher Place Great Britain (UK)
e-ISSN 18735347
Journal Social Science & Medicine
Volume Number 70
Issue Number 12


Source: WHO-Global Index Medicus