The article studies the relationships between a disabled sibling and his/her healthy brother or sister, and the influence of this interaction on their psychosocial adaptation and the formation of their personality traits.
The article states that siblings’ interactions are studied at the individual and system levels. At the individual level, they are studied by theorists of psychoanalysis, behaviourism, humanistic and cognitive psychology. The systemic approach has shown its productivity through the works made by representatives of transgenerational (Bowen’s), structural, strategic and experience-based directions of systemic family psychotherapy.
We noted that researchers mainly studied how a sibling’s position affects their personality development but forgot about the relationships between siblings themselves.
Based on the analysed theoretical material, we found that the studied relationships of children with their disabled siblings do not describe unambiguously their influence on the formation of personality traits and psychosocial adaptation of healthy siblings.
The seriousness of developmental disabilities, different parental attitudes towards children, and a family psychological climate are the factors affecting the most strongly the emotional aspect of sibling interactions.
The article notes that the factors reducing psychophysical traumatisation are: the parental marriage stability, high spiritual values of parents, open discussion of feelings among family members, the absence of overburdening a healthy child with care for his/her disabled sibling, understanding of children’s needs and the ability to effectively interact with them.
We determined that accumulation by a child of his/her own experience of interacting with his/her sick sibling and knowledge about his/her own and sibling’s abilities and their limits is an important product of sibling interactions.
The ability of children having siblings with psychophysical disabilities to respect the physical and psychological space of another is lower in comparison with children of the same age. It is more difficult for them to hold balance between personal autonomy and dependence.
The respondents having sibling with psychophysical disabilities are characterized by an excessive manifestation of emotional alienation and value-orientation separation, as well as an inherent excessive manifestation of dominance and control.
The self-esteem of children having siblings with psychophysical disabilities is lower in comparison with children of the same age, namely, the indicators of “self-esteem of character” and “self-esteem of appearance” are lower.
We conclude that siblings of disabled children are emotionally more sensitive, they have higher self-control. They better understand social norms and have a higher level of self-regulation, but they are more anxious and more often feel guilty about their sick siblings.
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