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|Title||Psychological Well-Being and Family Environment of Siblings of Children with Life Threatening Illness.|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2015|
|Authors||Humphrey LM, Hill DL, Carroll KW, Rourke M, Kang TI, Feudtner C|
|Journal||J Palliat Med|
|Date Published||2015 Nov|
BACKGROUND: The psychological well-being of siblings of children with life threatening illness remains largely uncharted. Pediatric cancer research suggests that a supportive family environment may protect the psychological well-being of siblings.
OBJECTIVE: We hypothesized that (1) siblings of pediatric palliative care patients would show clinical/behavioral scores that were elevated but that rates of serious psychopathology would be comparable to the general population of children their age; and (2) higher family functioning scores would be associated with lower clinical scores and higher adaptive scores for these siblings.
METHODS: We conducted an observational study with families in which a patient receiving palliative care had one or more siblings between the ages of 6 and 11. Parents completed the Behavioral Assessment System for Children, Second Edition (BASC-2) to assess the siblings' psychological well-being and the Family Assessment Device (FAD) to assess the family environment.
RESULTS: Twenty-four parents reported data for 30 siblings. Only three siblings scored in the clinical range on a BASC-2 composite clinical scale, and 11 siblings scored in the at-risk range on one or more composite scales. Higher FAD scores predicted significantly higher externalization composite clinical scores (7.54, 95% CI: 1.12, 13.97, p < 0.05) and significantly higher behavioral composite scores (7.88, 95% CI: 1.55, 14.21, p < 0.05).
DISCUSSION: Siblings of pediatric palliative care patients are not experiencing lower psychological well-being than the general population. The prediction that a positive family environment would be associated with higher levels of psychological health was supported.
|Alternate Journal||J Palliat Med|