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If you’re happy and you know it, thank your sister

Studies show a female sibling may help shape positive outlook

Created date

June 20th, 2014
sisters standing in a kitchen

Do you consider yourself a happy and optimistic person? If so, you may want to thank your sister. 

A study conducted by British psychologists Liz Wright and Tony Cassidy found that young people who had grown up with at least one sister tended to be happier and more optimistic. Another British researcher, Judy Dunn, found a similar pattern among older adults. 

“Sisters appear to encourage more open communication and cohesion in families,” says Cassidy. “However, brothers seem to have the alternative effect. Emotional expression is fundamental to good psychological health, and having sisters promotes this in families.” 

Cassidy’s study, which polled 571 young adults ages 17 to 25, found that independence and a strong ambition to achieve were also common traits among girls with sisters. 

Family ties

Sisters Angie Beltram and Mary Anne Linardi certainly share those qualities. Raised in St. Anthony’s parish in Overlea, Md., Angie and Mary Anne have shared a special bond since childhood. Now retired, they still make time for one another despite their busy lives at different Erickson Living communities.  

“We were pretty close growing up,” says Angie, the eldest by three years. “We both went to Seton High. Our friends used to call us Big Linardi and Little Linardi. We still talk on the phone a few times a month and get together for lunch when we can fit it into our busy schedules.”

After high school, Angie married and moved to Howard County, where she raised three daughters and worked with the Howard County Council and Planning Board. In February 2012, she and her husband Peter decided to sell their Ellicott City home and move to , Erickson Living’s flagship community in Catonsville. 

“We had a big yard, and my husband wasn’t able to keep up with the outdoor work like he used to,” says Angie. “We decided to look at Charlestown because we were already familiar with the area and lived just a few miles away.” 

Mary Anne, who had settled in Overlea and enjoyed a 38-year career with Loyola Notre Dame Library, selected Crest as her new home back in November 2010 for similar reasons.

“I didn’t want to spend my time working around the house,” says Mary Anne. “Plus, I never married or had kids, so I wanted to live in a continuing care community where I knew I would be taken care of if I needed help.” 

In 2012, when Angie expressed an interest in moving to Charlestown, Mary Anne tried to persuade her to move to Oak Crest. 

“I would say to her, ‘What are you doing over on that side of town? Why don’t you come over here?’” says Mary Anne. “She would say to me, ‘Because I’m from this side of town; why don’t you move over here?’” 

On the same page

Although they don’t agree on everything, one thing they do see eye to eye on is the benefit of moving to an Erickson Living community.

“I don’t miss my house at all. I’m surprised because I thought it would be difficult to move. I really enjoy the relaxed lifestyle at Charlestown,” says Angie. “I’ve always been active, but now that I live here, it’s so much easier. Unlike [at] my house, here I have no worries so I can spend my time doing what I want.”

For Angie, that includes chairing the Dining Services Committee at the community, working at the Pro Shop at Waverly Woods Golf Course in Marriottsville, and playing golf. In fact, Angie introduced Mary Anne to her favorite pastime when she retired.

“She bought me a golf lesson as a retirement gift,” says Mary Anne. “I enjoyed it so much I went out and bought my own golf clubs and took a few more lessons. Now I play once a week. Occasionally, she and I play together.”

Like Angie, Mary Anne says life at Oak Crest has never been better. 

“I love it here!” says Mary Anne. “I’m very active. I volunteer at the chapel and as a resident ambassador where I help the sales office with luncheons and open houses. I’m also active outside the community. Every Thursday, I bowl with a duckpin league, and I play golf. This time of year, people ask me if I’m planning any vacations. I tell them I’m on vacation every day.”