Current Content
Volume 36 - Number 5
September/October 2010

Sibling Experiences after a Major Childhood Burn Injury
Carlee Lehna

The purpose of this research project was to understand, primarily from the sibling perspective, the effect of a child's major burn injury on his or her sibling. A mixed method qualitative dominant design was implemented using the life story method for the qualitative portion. Additionally, the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire - Revised (SRQ-R) was used as a structured interview guide and for calculating scoring data to explore sibling relationship factors of warmth/closeness, rivalry, conflict, and relative status/power. Participants from 22 family cases (one or multiple family members) and 40 individuals were interviewed. To capture impact on the family over time, interviews began a minimum of two years post-burn. The central thematic pattern for the sibling relationship in families having a child with a major burn injury was that of normalization. Two components of normalization were described: areas of normalization and the process of adjustment. Areas of normalization were found in play and other activities, in school and work, and in family relations with siblings. The process of adjustment was varied and often gradual, involved school and work re-entry, and in some instances, seemed to change life perspective. Clinical implications in providing family-centered care can focus on promoting normalization by assessing and supporting siblings who may only be occasionally seen in the hospital or clinic.