The influence of sibling relationships in children with chronic medical conditions

Sara J Shenker, Pace University


Research indicates that children's adjustment may be linked to family relationships. However, studies have tended to focus on parent-child interactions or on how having a chronically ill or disabled sibling influences children who do not have any health problems. The role that a healthy child might have on the adjustment of a child with a chronic medical condition has been overlooked. Considering the fact that children who have covert medical conditions have a higher risk of developing adjustment difficulties, the influence a sibling may have in alleviating this risk deserves attention. This study examined whether sibling relationships had an association with adjustment in children with and without chronic, covert medical conditions. The sample consisted of 30 children and their parents. Children were between 7 and 14 years of age, and had at least one sibling. Parents were asked to complete the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), while children completed the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ) and the Beck Youth Inventory-Depression scale (BYI-D). In addition, parents and children were both asked about their opinions on the child's sibling relationships. Results indicated that affection in the sibling relationship did not appear to influence adjustment outcomes in children. Ratings of hostility did appear to be linked to adjustment, but only in children who had a covert medical condition. However, parent ratings of sibling closeness were positively correlated with measures of adjustment in children, particularly in regard to children with covert medical conditions. The amount of variance accounted for by sibling relationship quality, gender, and medical status in regards to adjustment status were also examined.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Clinical psychology

Recommended Citation

Shenker, Sara J, "The influence of sibling relationships in children with chronic medical conditions" (2008). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3340898.



Remote User: Click Here to Login (must have Pace University remote login ID and password. Once logged in, click on the View More link above)