OCAD University Open Research Repository

A Sibling’s Sense of Self

Russell, Danielle (2023) A Sibling’s Sense of Self. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Russell, Danielle

Background: It is commonly viewed that siblings of those with disabilities are positioned as caregivers and tasked to support their sibling with a disability. Family members of those with disabilities are particularly viewed as impacted heavily by the burden of care placed on them. However, truth be told, there are many influential and positive attributes that are acquired by one’s upbringing and living with a family member who has a disability. Typically overlooked by researchers in the field, there are dismissed perceptions of family members that should be accounted for. Further, individuals who have grown up alongside of members of their family with a disability have unique perceptions that influence their self-perceptions and ways of living. This study found that an individual with a sibling with a disability has experienced in childhood up to current time circumstantial practices relative to their family position which influence the way they currently carry and perceive themselves. Further indicated in this study is the importance of family relationships, dynamics and stability in support of the care to the sibling with a disability. Particular qualities and characteristics are highlighted in this study to showcase the intricate yet complex lives of individuals with siblings who have disabilities. Proven is the need for augmented initiatives and enhanced supports to address gaps and needs among individual family members who are related to someone with a disability.

Specific Aim: The objective of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of how individuals perceive themselves based on their experiences growing up with a family member who identifies as having a disability. The aim was to investigate the perceived experiences of these individuals and their reflections on their personal identities and sense of perception.

Method: A total of 10 individuals over the age of 18 who have siblings with disabilities from across Ontario, Canada completed virtual or in-person interviews.

Findings: To reflect participants' upbringing, current experiences, and anticipated future roles within their families, themes naturally surfaced and were identified as means to represent consistent data responses. In general, the findings revealed a range of experiences that impact their sense of self and family responsibilities. Many unique and positive perceptions of self were conveyed by participants in reference to their lived experiences.

Discussion: This study fills gaps in disability studies by highlighting the positive outcomes of sibling relationships and the unique lived experiences of individuals who have siblings with disabilities. It emphasizes the importance of recognizing an individuals’ experiences and stories relative to having a sibling with a disability.

Keywords: Disability, Sibling, Sibship, Family, Relationships, Experiences.

Date: May 2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: Disability, Sibling, Sibship, Family, Relationships, Experiences.
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Inclusive Design
Date Deposited: 03 May 2023 17:41
Last Modified: 22 May 2023 23:25
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/4001

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