Katy Tenhulzen (Family & Consumer Sciences), Amy Claridge (Family and Consumer Sciences)
Children with chronic illnesses have been studied for the psychological effects of their illness, such as quality of life, social functioning, and coping. The siblings of these children have been minimally studied, resulting in inadequate knowledge of the effects a child’s chronic illness has on this underrepresented population. This study will examine how childhood chronic illness impacts the sibling relationship. Increased understanding of the challenges and needs these siblings have will influence the different interventions and support that is currently being utilized for this population. Furthermore, this study aims to identify ways to improve these siblings’ relationships by contributing more data on this subject to the field of study. This will be accomplished by the use of the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire that was created to explore different sibling relationship qualities (Furman, 1968). Parents of both healthy and sick children will be asked to fill out the questionnaire, asking them to rate certain aspects of the relationship that their children share on a 1 through 5 scale, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. The questionnaire will focus on conflict and warmth aspects of the relationship. Results from the two groups will be compared in order to understand ways in which having a sibling with a childhood chronic illness impacts the sibling relationship. This thesis will be completed with Professor Katy Tenhulzen and Dr. Amy Claridge, organized in accordance with the American Psychological Association guidelines, and will occur mainly in the Summer, Fall, and Winter of 2020/21.
Keywords: Siblings, Relationships, Chronic illness