If you were bullied by your big brother, it turns out you might have been safer with a big sister instead. According to a recent study, older brothers are more likely to bully siblings than older sisters.
Italian researchers set out to investigate the effects of birth order, gender, personality and family relationship qualities on sibling bullying. They asked 195 children aged 10 to 12 years old with siblings that were no more than 4 years older or younger to complete questionnaires that gauged their bullying experiences. The kids were asked a range of questions regarding whether they had bullied anyone or been a victim.
The results? Apparently children with older brothers were more likely to report being bullied at home, while boys were more likely to bully if they had a younger sister or brother. Interestingly, this was not the case with older sisters, who were more likely to bully a sibling based on the quality of their relationship rather than their older age.
The authors of the study theorize that older sisters are raised to responsible and protective towards their younger siblings, while older brothers are more likely to be hierarchical and seek to dominate these relationships and maintain this with daily bullying.