Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Children of divorced parents-Psychology, Children of divorced parents-Family relationships, Brothers and sisters, Qualitative research, Divorce, Children's adjustment to divorce, Sibling relationships, Social work


Out of all family relationships, the sibling relationship remains the least studied. Due to the limited research on sibling relationships, the study aimed to provide a greater understanding of the importance of sibling relationships and the significant role that siblings may play in one another's lives when coping with the stressful effects of parental divorce. In this qualitative exploratory study, 14 adult sibling dyads were interviewed to explore the ways in which they helped one another deal with the effects of parental divorce. The three main themes that emerged from this study are (a) positive impact of sibling relationships on ability to deal with parental divorce; (b) sibling relationship dynamics; and (c) negative impact of sibling relationships on ability to deal with parental divorce. These themes and supporting evidence by way of direct quotes from the participants suggest that positive sibling relationships have the potential to help children and adolescents cope with and adjust to parental divorce as sources of comfort, stability, and support in times of familial stress and change. Further, these findings suggest that parental favoritism, separation, and lack of parental communication or support during divorce can negatively affect the sibling relationship, undermining the potential for adjustment by the children.




iii,82 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-70)