Little research examines the reasons adult siblings might provide social support to unmarried, dependent brothers and sisters. This article examines how obligation, reciprocity, and the quality of personal relationships affect whether siblings provide social support to the seriously mentally ill. It uses a sample of 108 siblings of 85 participants in a treatment program for the seriously mentally ill to examine the factors that predict several aspects of help provision. Reciprocity is an important predictor of reported and projected support: The more help respondent siblings receive from ill siblings, the more willingness to help they show in return. The availability of parental and other sibling caregivers is also associated with reported help from siblings. Neither norms of family obligation nor relational quality are highly correlated with support. The results indicate that professionals should take into account the potential importance of siblings as providers of social support to the seriously mentally ill and encourage their clients to develop reciprocal interactions with their brothers and sisters.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)