‘People don't realise how much their past experiences affect them in adulthood’: A Qualitative Study of Adult Siblings’ Experiences of Growing-Up with a Sister/Brother with a Childhood Life-limiting Condition and their Perceived Support Needs.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background
There is a lack of research about the experiences and impact of having a sibling with a life-limiting condition. Studies focus on the sibling experience during childhood but the experience and impact during adulthood is unknown despite the increased life-expectancy of children with life-limiting conditions.
Aim
To explore adult siblings’ perspectives on the experience of having a sister/brother with a childhood life limiting condition and to identify their perceived needs and preferences for support.
Design
A qualitative exploratory study design with data generated by semi-structured interviews and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis, underpinned by interpretivism.
Setting/Participants
Twenty-two siblings (17-42 years old) were recruited via a children’s hospice in England.
Results
The experience of having a sibling with a life-limiting condition changes over time in response to how understandings of the meaning of a life-limiting condition develop and changing roles/relationships with parents and siblings. These experiences have an enduring impact on adult sibling’s mental health which is compounded by their unmet (and sometimes unrecognised) support needs in adolescence and adulthood. Siblings described the importance of support continuing into adulthood with a focus on the provision of psychotherapy and peer support.
Conclusions
Having a sister/brother with a childhood life-limiting condition appeared to have a significant and ongoing impact on adult siblings but their support needs, particularly for psychotherapy and peer support, are overlooked. The findings highlight the importance of ensuring siblings are included in family assessments and that family-based interventions are developed to promote sibling-parent
relationships.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative Medicine
Early online date12 Feb 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • siblings
  • child
  • palliative care
  • hospices
  • qualitative research

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of '‘People don't realise how much their past experiences affect them in adulthood’: A Qualitative Study of Adult Siblings’ Experiences of Growing-Up with a Sister/Brother with a Childhood Life-limiting Condition and their Perceived Support Needs.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this