Title

The Impact of Childhood Chronic Illness on the Family: Psychosocial Adjustment of Siblings

Department

Social Work

Date of Paper/Work

2013

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper

Advisors

Lance Peterson

Abstract

Chronic illness is a multifaceted concept that significantly impacts millions of families and siblings each year. The biopsychosocial model shows that illness involves more than the biological and medical processes; it includes psychosocial implications on families as well. The purpose of this qualitative and quantitative study was to examine the effects of childhood chronic illness on families and siblings by exploring the positive and negative consequences from parents’ perspectives, the extent to which families experienced illness-related stress and strain, as well as further examining the specific ways in which families adapt their lives. This study specifically sought to explore the relationship between the impact on siblings and the impact on the family. By surveying parents associated with supportive non-profit organizations, this research sought to answer those questions. This study found that illness severity and the level of stress were statistically significant in their impact on the family. This study also found a positive correlation that showed illness’ impact on the family invariably impacts the siblings. The qualitative portion of this study illustrates how parents convey thoughtful, enlightening, and unique perspectives from their day-to-day lives and experiences. Social workers, Child Life Specialists, and other health care professionals need to be aware of the psychosocial implications of illness and its impact on families so that they can properly assess and provide intervention when necessary. Professionals should also be aware of and utilize a family systems perspective when working with chronically ill children and their families.

Keywords

Chronic Illness, heart disease, pediatrics, siblings, families, hospitalization, Medical social work, Child Life Specialists, Allied Health Professionals

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.