Siblings as caregivers for the seriously mentally ill.

A. V. Horwitz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The majority of seriously mentally ill people are unmarried and cannot obtain support from spouses or children. Help from parents is time limited. In the absence of spouses and parents, siblings are often the closest relations for many seriously mentally ill people, but their potentially supportive role has rarely been examined. This article reports results from a pilot study of 108 siblings with seriously mentally ill brothers and sisters. The findings indicate that siblings had regular contact and positive relationships with their ill sibs. Furthermore, most were willing to increase their current amount of support. Sibling support was greater when both parents were not alive, resulting in the increased importance of siblings over the life course. Policy markers, mental health professionals, and researchers should pay more attention to the question of sibling support.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-339
Number of pages17
JournalThe Milbank quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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