Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Family and Consumer Sciences

Committee Chair

Duane Dowd

Second Committee Member

Katy Tenhulzen

Third Committee Member

Amy Claridge


Children with chronic illnesses have been studied for the psychological effects their illness has on them, such as their quality of life, social functioning, and attachment style. The siblings of these chronically ill children are becoming the topics of research in order to bring to light the effects a child’s chronic illness has on this underrepresented population. However, the relationship between the sick child and their sibling has been minimally investigated. This study will add to the literature of how childhood chronic illness impacts the sibling relationship, with the hope that the results will inspire the creation of interventions because the greater understanding of the challenges and needs of siblings can influence future support. This study will investigate how the conflict, warmth, rivalry, and power/status aspects of the sibling relationship are affected when one of the siblings has a chronic illness. This will be accomplished by the use of the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire (Furman, 1968). This measure has been used to compare different relationships within a child’s life, to study how a child’s emotional understanding develops in certain contexts, and to study the effects of birth order has on the sibling relationship. Parents of both healthy and chronically ill children will be asked to fill out the questionnaire, which will ask them to rate certain aspects of the relationship with their siblings on a Likert scale with a range of answers provided. Results showed a significant different between groups in regard to power/status, but not for any of the other three aspects. This implies that parents who have a chronically ill child reported more power/status within the sibling relationship than parents whose children are both healthy.