More Siblings, Greater Risk of Behavioral Problems


Cape Town: Having multiple siblings can often draw the jealousy of others. For many people grew up idolizing big families on television, such as ‘The Brady Bunch’ and ’19 Kids And Counting’.

But in real life, they often found themselves growing up with only one or two siblings. Yet, despite the allure of a big family, scientists reveal there are downsides to growing up with lots of brothers and sisters. Children in larger families are more likely to have behavioral problems and fall behind intellectually, according to a new study from the University of Houston.

The study said: ‘Families face a substantial quantity-quality trade-off: increases in family size decrease parental investment, decrease childhood performance on cognitive tests and measures of social behaviour. ‘Importantly, we find that these negative effects are not merely temporary disruptions following a birth but in fact persist throughout childhood.’ The scientists found the persistence into early adulthood is consistent with other studies pointing to the importance of early childhood experiences.