Chronic illness not only affects the overall well-being of a sick child but also impacts the lives of all of his or her family members, perhaps most significantly, the healthy siblings. As health care providers move from a client-based model of chronic illness care to a family-based model, the need to understand the impact chronic illness has on the healthy siblings is becoming all the more important, along with a need for developing interventions to help promote the siblings' adaptation to and coping with the stressors of chronic illness. The current study compared overall health-related quality of life (HRQoL) as well as the four dimensions of quality of life, including the physical, social, psychological well-being, and self concept of healthy middle-childhood-aged siblings of chronically ill children to healthy middle-childhood-aged siblings of healthy children from the Bronx, New York. This study also compared the amount, sources, and importance of various types of social support among the healthy siblings of chronically ill children and healthy siblings of healthy children. Additionally, this study assessed the relationship between social support and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in both sibling groups. Seventy-six healthy middle-childhood-aged siblings of children with various chronic illnesses and 65 healthy middle-childhood-aged siblings of healthy children were recruited from clinics at a busy metropolitan children's hospital. The siblings of ill children had significantly poorer total HRQoL, physical QoL, psychological QoL, social well-being, and self-concept than the siblings of healthy children. Middle-childhood-aged siblings of chronically ill children had significantly less available social support of all types and from all sources in their environment as compared with their peers. Overall social support was significantly positively related to HRQoL for both groups of siblings. Social support from various sources was positively related to the siblings of ill children's HRQoL as well as their physical, psychological, and social well-being and self-concept. Given these findings, health care providers must recognize the significant impact chronic illness in children has on the healthy siblings' HRQoL and the need to provide them with social supports to promote their coping and adaptation.
|School:||Teachers College, Columbia University|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social research, Nursing, Health education|
|Keywords:||Chronic illness, Health-related quality of life, Social support|
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