Adjustment of siblings to childhood cancer: a literature review

B. A. Houtzager, M. A. Grootenhuis, B. F. Last

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103 Citations (Scopus)


Studies concerning sibling adjustment to childhood cancer and published since 1980 were reviewed. Sibling distress was described in terms of emotional, socio-behavioral, academic, physical and positive reactions. Secondly, characteristics and coping resources of siblings that are related to adjustment were summarized. Thirdly, the families' functioning, parental coping resources and family events that relate to adjustment were described. Finally, relevant aspects of the illness that may influence adjustment were described. Results of the 35 studies reviewed are summarized in a table containing general descriptors, methods and results. There are salient difficulties in comparison of the findings owing to variations in design, heterogeneity of the groups of siblings, diversity in sample size, and differences in conceptualizations of adjustment and coping. The lack of longitudinal studies, the precarious definitions and confounding of coping and adaptation, and the marginal role of siblings' coping efforts were identified as the most striking deficiencies in current research
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-320
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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