Pit-Ten Cate, Ineke M. and Loots, G.M.P.
Experiences of siblings of children with physical disabilities: an empirical investigation
Disability and Rehabilitation, 22, (9), . (doi:10.1080/096382800406013).
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Purpose: This study aimed to investigate the experiences of Dutch siblings of children with physical disabilities (n = 43).
Method: Interviews were conducted to investigate experiences of siblings in 3 areas: the sibling relationship, the relationship with parents, and the relationship with others. The siblings also completed a coping response inventory.
Results: The siblings reported difficulties in undertaking activities and in communicating with their brother sister with a disability. Most siblings worried about the future and the health of their brother sister with a disability. The siblings reported open communication and trust as the main characteristics of the relationship with their parents. They acknowledged their parents' attempts to treat all children equally, although parents were not always successful in doing so. Having a sibling with a disability did not cause problems in the relationship with friends. The awkward reactions of strangers caused the siblings much annoyance and distress. Siblings in this sample used more approach coping strategies than avoidance strategies, t(34) 2.37, p < 0.05.
Conclusion: The brothers and sisters generally did not experience many significant problems, however, a minority of the children did experience problems for which they would like help. In addition, they reported joys as well as problems.
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