Understanding The Effect of Crohn's Disease on Siblings: A Case Study

Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Capstone

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Laura Meyer

First Committee Member

Peter Buirski

Second Committee Member

Sheryl Kent


Patients with Crohn's Disease, siblings, emotional and behavioral functioning


The primary purpose of this study was to collect exploratory data on the experiences and reactions of siblings of a patient with Crohn's Disease. A secondaty purpose was to obtain descriptive data on the emotional and behavioral functioning of these siblings, as measured by the BASC-3. Research showed that siblings of adolescents are at an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and other maladaptive behaviors when there is a chronically ill patient in the home. This single-family case study was conducted to assess the emotional and behavioral functioning of siblings of a patient with Crohn's Disease. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each family member to gather their subjective responses about their experiences, and elaborate on what led to adequate and appropriate adjustment, if indicated. Self-report measures were given to each adolescent (patient and two siblings) and the parents (to report about each adolescent) in order to assess current emotional and behavioral functioning. Qualitative results clarified the distinction between reactions at the time of diagnosis versus the present, which was two years post diagnosis. Initial reactions included attention seeking behaviors and separation, dependent on the developmental level of the sibling. Quantitative findings indicated no current clinically significant maladaptive emotional and behavioral responses. Adequate adaptation was believed to be due to communication, support, and maintaining roles.


Copyright is held by the author. Permanently suppressed.


45 pages

Paper Method

Case Study

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