Although there are many positive outcomes of growing up with a sibling having a psychological or behavioral disorder, typical siblings can potentially experience harmful effects of managing and coping with the special demands and stresses of having a sibling with these kinds of difficulties. The college years are often a time to restructure sibling relationships. It is a time when young adults experience what it is like to be away from home for the first time, develop new groups of friends, and start new behavior patterns, attitudes, goals, and relationships that call for a more mature individual. The current study was designed to investigate psychosocial experiences of college students who have siblings with psychological and behavioral disorders as compared to college students who have typically developing siblings. A stress and coping model was used to examine cognitive appraisal, coping, and adaptational outcome. Using the data from approximately 250 students, 36 students who identified their siblings as having a psychological or developmental disorder and 36 students with typically developing siblings were identified. Analyses were conducted to test hypotheses about (a) group differences in sibling-related worries, adaptational outcome, and coping, and (b) associations among cognitive appraisal, coping and the outcome variables. This study enriches the limited research literature on the experiences of college-aged siblings with respect to their sibling-related worries and coping styles.



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