Regaining Equilibrium: Understanding the Process of Sibling Adjustment to Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury

Samantha Bursnall, University, My, Elizabeth Kendall
This study developed a comprehensive framework for understanding the process of sibling adjustment to pediatric acquired brain injury (ABI). Grounded theory methodology was employed to inductively explore the issues siblings perceived to be their main concerns and how they managed these concerns. Fifty-three interviews were conducted recursively with twenty child and adolescent siblings of individuals with an ABI, four adult siblings of individuals with an ABI and four child and adolescent
more » ... ngs of individuals with congenital disability. Observational and secondary data from hospital staff and parents were also analyzed. The framework was developed and verified through simultaneous data collection and analysis (Glaser, 1978; Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The main issue of concern for siblings following their brother or sister's ABI was the loss of equilibrium in their lives. Losing equilibrium was defined by the concepts of vulnerability and emotional turmoil. Specifically, following ABI, siblings were confronted with the vulnerability of their assumptive world, which was influenced by their exposure to unforeseen circumstances, mortality, the enduring nature of their brother or sister's injury, and the perceived vulnerability of their family unit. In response to these losses, siblings experienced emotional turmoil, including acute anxiety, chronic worry, ambivalent emotions and disenfranchised grief. Losing equilibrium was an ongoing concern for siblings that threatened their sense of security, safety, predictability and control for many years post injury. To manage these ongoing concerns, siblings employed a variety of interrelated strategies to regain equilibrium. These strategies were conceptualized by the concepts, navigating and sacrificing. The purpose of these strategies was to restore safety, predictability and control in the siblings' environment. Navigating required siblings to negotiate the enduring disequilibrium in their lives, by challenging new rules with old tools, withdrawal, trying and buying [...]
doi:10.25904/1912/3367 fatcat:q76bpgn7obe47gzue4l6mp5ype