Adult Well Siblings: A Phenomenological Investigation of Their Experiences

Date of Award


Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Judith Fox, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Jennifer Cornish, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Teresa Simoneau, Ph.D.


In this qualitative study, a phenomenological approach was used to investigate the impact of growing up with a chronically ill sibling. Each subject participated in an interview focused on past, present, and future reflections of being a well sibling with regard to perceived role in their family, coping mechanisms, strengths derived from the experience, and ideas about how circumstances may have been improved while growing up. Interview analysis illuminated four themes: well sibling experience as infused into life narrative; the diagnostic context as it impacts the family's coping; appreciation of one's own health; and desire to have had more information about/more involvement with the sibling's illness. Implications for mental health practice with adult well siblings are identified and discussed.


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