The effects a sibling with mental retardation has on the sibling relationship

Anita Colleen Johnsey

Abstract

Family relationships are an important part of any child's life. The sibling relationship is often the longest relationship in a person's life. These are relationships that form early in life and run throughout a person's life. Sometimes these are good relationships and sometimes these are bad relationships. Individuals with mental retardation may depend on the help of their siblings in later adult life. For this reason it is important for these relationships to be strong, healthy relationships. It is thought by some that the presence of a disability puts a greater stress on sibling relationships. However, the data available is not consistent. Some researchers have found that problems in sibling relationships between children with a disability and their nondisabled siblings do exist, while other researchers have found that these relationships are actually stronger than relationships between two nondisabled siblings.