ERIC Number: ED269668
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr-26
Reference Count: 0
Sibling Relationships: An Unrealized Potential Support for the Elderly.
Avioli, Paula Smith
Although it has been estimated that over three-fourths of all older adults have living siblings, little information is available on the actual and potential supportive role siblings play for older persons. The sibling relationship has several unique and interesting characteristics and the intimate experiences of childhood may either bind or separate siblings. Siblings usually separate geographically and psychologically as they grow up, yet adults report strong feelings of closeness towards their brothers and sisters. And, although siblings are of little functional importance in terms of providing instrumental services to older adults, sibling relationships are characterized by the desire to help when needed. Sibling support may be instrumental in the individual's facing the problems of aging. Next to adult children, siblings offer the best prospects for providing older adults with a permanent home. While some studies have indicated that sibilings constitute an important source of social and psychological support in later life, others report that interaction with siblings is not related to the elder's level of morale or feelings of insecurity, loneliness, or usefulness. Although siblings may potentially be a supportive resource in later life, this is not always the case. The level and type of support between older siblings may depend on both the idiosyncracies of the particular sibling relationship and the developmental needs characteristic of older adults. (NB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the New Jersey Psychological Association (Saddlebrook, NJ, April 26, 1986).