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Journal Article

Siblings of Adults with Mental Retardation or Mental Illness: Effects on Lifestyle and Psychological Well-Being

Marsha Mailick Seltzer, Jan S. Greenberg, Marty Wyngaarden Krauss, Rachel M. Gordon and Katherine Judge
Family Relations
Vol. 46, No. 4, Family Caregiving for Persons with Disabilities (Oct., 1997), pp. 395-405
DOI: 10.2307/585099
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/585099
Page Count: 11
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Siblings of Adults with Mental Retardation or Mental Illness: Effects on Lifestyle and Psychological Well-Being
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Abstract

Siblings of adults with mental retardation were contrasted with siblings of adults with serious mental illness with respect to (1) the pervasiveness of the impact of the brother or sister on the sibling's life, (2) the closeness of their current relationship and frequency of contact with the brother or sister with the disability, and (3) the factors related to the sibling's level of psychological well-being. It was found that siblings of adults with mental retardation were significantly more likely than siblings of adults with mental illness to perceive that the brother or sister had a pervasive influence on their life decisions and to evaluate their sibling experience as mostly positive. In addition, siblings of adults with mental retardation had a closer relationship with the brother or sister with the disability than siblings of adults with serious mental illness. Finally, siblings of adults with mental retardation had better psychological well-being when they had a close relationship with the brother or sister. In contrast, siblings of adults with serious mental illness had more favorable psychological well-being when they perceived a less pervasive impact of the brother or sister on their life. Implications for future research and service delivery are discussed.

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