The sibling relationship after acquired brain injury (ABI): perspectives of siblings with ABI and uninjured siblings

Penelope Analytis, Narelle Warren, Jennie Ponsford

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Primary Objective: This study explored the sibling relationship across the lifespan after acquired brain injury (ABI). Research Design: A qualitative approach was used to explore the perspectives of siblings with ABI and uninjured siblings. Methods and Procedures: Semi-structured interviews with 19 siblings with ABI and 20 uninjured siblings (aged 6–61 years) were analyzed using reflexive thematic analysis.  Main Outcomes and Results: Four themes were identified: Living with ABI; Being normal siblings; Being part of a family; Experiencing social stigma of ABI. ABI was a traumatic event which differentiated siblings but increased understanding helped accommodate its impact. This impact was experienced within perceptions of typical sibling relationships as involving closeness and conflict. The family context shaped relationships, with parents mediating across the lifespan, while siblings’ partners and children contributed to adult sibling relationships. Finally, social stigma led to distance but also protectiveness between siblings. Conclusions: The sibling relationship was experienced as a continually evolving source of closeness and conflict within the family context. ABI enhanced preexisting dynamics and created new dynamics, shaped by social attitudes toward ABI. Increased understanding of ABI supported closer relationships, highlighting a need for psychoeducational interventions across the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1504-1512
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2020


  • Acquired brain injury
  • family
  • sibling relationships
  • siblings

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