Siblings of Persons with Disabilities: A Narrative Analysis of the Specialized Sibling Bond
Davis, Elizabeth C.
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The literature on the experiences of siblings of persons with disabilities has over time become increasingly positive, yet the majority of the existing research still focuses on the negative effects of this specialized sibling relationship. The present research used a narrative analysis to obtain a more well rounded set of data on the experiences of siblings of persons with disabilities. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants whose siblings had a variety of disabilities. Analyses of participants' responses yielded themes including varying levels of acceptance of their siblings, coping mechanisms, and unique forms of communication that constituted a familial language. Participants most often described instances of unconditional acceptance of their siblings; however, in the face of social situations this acceptance appeared to become more difficult. Implications of this conflict are discussed, as well as coping mechanisms, and the advantageous use of a familial language to cross communication barriers.