Large-Scale Study Debunks Myth that Single Children are Less Happy

A recent study has found that children without siblings tend to be happier than those with siblings. The findings come from the Understanding Society initiative, which tracked the lives of 100,000 people in 40,000 homes across the UK.

According to the findings, almost one-third of respondents reported being regularly hit or shoved by a sibling. Single children may appear more confident and content because they do not have to deal with sibling bullying.

Researchers explain the trend by citing the inter-sibling competition for parents’ attention, as well as the irritation resulting from having to share belongings. The study further indicated, however, that in addition to bullying, siblings also offer support, which is unavailable to single children.

The study found that happiness is negatively correlated with the number of siblings children have. Children from ethnic minorities appeared to be happier than white British children, while 70% of teenagers in general reported being ‘very satisfied’ with their lives.

Among other things, the findings serve to debunk the myth that single children tend to be lonely. “It is more that others perceive they must be lonely”, said Michele Elliott, the Director of Kidscape. As far as bullying goes, she explains, some children simply do not get along with their siblings.

Last year, figure showed that the number of British households with single children now makes up 46% of all families, outnumbering those with two or more by more than 500,000.