Factors Contributing to the Quality of Sibling Relationships for Adults With Schizophrenia


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Abstract

ObjectivesResearch suggests that the quality of sibling relationships has a significant impact on the lives of adults with schizophrenia. A life course perspective was used to guide an investigation of the predictors of the quality of the relationship between adults with schizophrenia and their siblings.MethodsThe data come from a longitudinal study of families of adults with schizophrenia. This study is based on a survey of 136 siblings of adults with schizophrenia. Multiple regression was used to estimate the predictors of sibling relationship quality.ResultsSiblings reported a better relationship when they grew up in a more cohesive family environment (beta=.16, p<.05) and when they experienced more personal gains from coping with the challenges of a brother's or sister's mental illness (beta=.37, p<.001). Siblings reported a worse relationship when they perceived their brother or sister with schizophrenia as having control over his or her symptoms (beta=-.18, p<.05), expressed greater fear of their brother's or sister's behavior (beta=-.17, p<.05), and indicated that their brother or sister had struck or threatened them at some point in their lives (beta=-.18, p<.05).ConclusionsThe quality of the sibling relationship is a major contributor to sibling involvement in the future and to the quality of life of adults with schizophrenia. By identifying the factors associated with positive sibling relationships, mental health providers will be better prepared to engage siblings in the treatment process and help promote stronger bonds of affection between adults with schizophrenia and their siblings.

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