In the shadow of schizophrenia: A study of siblings' perceptions

Dina Barak, Zahava Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The study assesses the impact of schizophrenia on non-schizophrenic siblings with regard to objective and subjective burden, feelings and degree of closeness with sibling, social interaction, coping and sense of meaning in life. Method: 100 subjects, 52 siblings of schizophrenic patients and 48 comparable controls participated in the study and filled out self report questionnaires. Results: Findings show that siblings of patients with schizophrenia report more intense negative feelings, elevated levels of objective and subjective burden, less closeness and more shame than the subjects in the control group. Limitations: The 48 controls did not have a sibling with any sickness, so that the findings are not necessarily specific to schizophrenia, and may be relevant to siblings of those who suffer from various chronic diseases. Further study separating these issues is recommended. Conclusions: In light of the findings that show that some siblings of patients with schizophrenia become "secondary victims," we recommend that siblings of the mentally ill receive more professional attention. Information about the illness can help in reducing the sense of anxiety and guilt, and somewhat alleviate the sense of shame and stigma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-241+296
JournalIsrael Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences
Volume42
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005

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