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J Pediatr Nurs. 2007 Oct;22(5):410-8.

Siblings' experiences of having a brother or sister with autism and mental retardation: a case study of 14 siblings from five families.

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Department of Health Sciences, Section of Nursing, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to describe the present and past experiences of 14 siblings from five families in terms of having a brother or sister with autism and mental retardation. Personal interviews were conducted with the siblings before their brothers or sisters were moved to a newly opened group home. Qualitative content analysis was used for the analysis of the transcribed texts. The analysis resulted in seven content categories: precocious responsibility, feeling sorry, exposed to frightening behavior, empathetic feelings, hoping that a group home will be a relief, physical violence made siblings feel unsafe and anxious, and relations with friends were affected negatively. The conclusion is that these siblings' experiences revealed stressful life conditions. Counseling for the family and for siblings is recommended to help them deal with their feelings and problems. For the siblings in these five families, a group home was a relevant alternative as a temporary or permanent placement for the child with autism and mental retardation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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