Narrator: This is Science Today. Sisters can be the best of friends, but they can sometimes be the worst of enemies. Just what shapes the complicated relationship between sisters was the focus of a study conducted by sociologist Marcia Millman of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Millman: I started noticing that a lot of people that I knew, especially as they approached middle age, were having painful conflicts with their sisters and it really drove them crazy and I began to wonder why this would happen – why people who had always been close would suddenly have difficulties as they became middle-aged.
Narrator: Rather than the obvious reasons, such as dealing with divorce or becoming caregivers to aging or sick parents, Millman found that middle-aged sisters, who may now have more time to bond, get into trouble when they fall back into childhood roles.
Millman: I think the key to sisters who get along when they get older is that they really keep current, they don't just see each other in the context of the family where I think you do tend to fall into old patterns.
Narrator: Millman adds it's never too late to improve a sister relationship. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.