Siblings and Illness

Leah Sawyer Vanderwerp


Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-Mother and Child samples, I investigated the relationships among child and adolescent depressive symptoms, having a chronically ill sibling, and other child and familial demographic variables. From research on social support and social role transitions, with the Stress Process as a theoretical model, I hypothesized that children with chronically ill siblings experience more depressive symptoms. Specifically, I looked at age, gender, birth order and family size as potentially reducing the effect size of having a chronically ill sibling. Findings showed that having a chronically ill sibling is associated with demonstrating more depressive symptoms both in the bivariate and multivariate analyses. Although age, gender, birth order and family size do not interact significantly with having a chronically ill sibling in predicting depressive symptoms, they do present interesting findings about childhood depressive symptoms in general. Thus, the results of this study suggest specific and meaningful paths for future research.


Chronic Illness

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