Sibling rivalry: 1 in 2 adults still argues and competes with brothers and sisters

February 18, 2022

Sibling rivalries are common among children, but a new survey finds that most people continue to measure themselves against their brothers and sisters well into adulthood, reports Study Finds.

A poll of 2,000 adults who have at least one sibling— conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by NOW— has found that 51% still have a competitive relationship with their brothers and sisters. Many can’t help but compete over career goals (26%) and even home ownership (22%).

Meanwhile, another 20% still argue over who is their parent’s “favorite” in the family. The same percentage constantly strive to outdo their sibling in the kitchen.

Other areas brothers and sisters keep battling over include their vacation destinations, who drives a nicer car, and their skills as a parent.

For many adults, this is nothing new. Just under one in five (17%) report they’ve had a rivalry with their siblings at every stage of their lives. Interestingly, though, even more (43%) believe this competition heightens each year around big gift-giving holidays like birthdays and Mother’s Day.

The survey also has found that older siblings tend to be both more competitive and more successful. Notably older sisters are even more competitive than older brothers. In fact, 15% told researchers that they’re sibling rivalry  motivated them to achieve more in their careers, with 23% actually achieving that goal.

“Sibling rivalry never goes away, with many of us competing with our brothers or sisters long after we have left home,” Jamie Schwartz from NOW says in a statement.

On average, siblings usually argue twice a month over things such as politics or what to watch on TV. One-third admit that they’ve stopped talking to a brother or sister for a period of time over a disagreement.

For what it’s worth, 25% of respondents believe competition is a healthy aspect of any sibling relationship. Nearly 20% believe their personal sibling rivalries have helped them achieve more in life.

Research contact: @StudyFinds