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J Pediatr Psychol. 1995 Apr;20(2):151-64.

Sibling adaptation to childhood cancer collaborative study: siblings' perceptions of the cancer experience.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84132, USA.


Investigated responses of siblings (N = 254) of children with cancer to structured interviews designed to elicit thoughts and feelings about effects of cancer on self and family. Siblings indicated distress about family separations and disruptions, lack of attention, focus of family on the ill child, negative feelings in themselves and family members, cancer treatments and their effects, and fear of death. Siblings also reported becoming more compassionate, families becoming closer, and having experiences they otherwise would not have had. Age and gender differences in responses indicated distinctive perceptions of and vulnerability to the cancer experience. Older siblings were far more likely to report positive effects than younger siblings suggesting that level of maturity can moderate the stress of an ill child within the family.

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