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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relations in families with a mentally retarded child from the perspective of the siblings.

Nowadays most handicapped children in Sweden live with their families. In this study some of the consequences of the normalisation of their lives are analysed, focusing on young siblings of mentally retarded children. Sixteen siblings, aged 5-11, were tested with the Family Relations Test and Kvebaek Family Sculpture Technique, as were siblings in a control group in which each child was chosen to match a sibling in the target group with respect to age and family constellation. The results show few differences between the two groups. According to the Family Relations Test, however, the emotional involvement in the eldest non-retarded sibling differs statistically significant from that of the corresponding child in the control group and especially so with respect to negative incoming feelings. Young siblings also show a tendency to unconsciously place the mentally retarded child at larger distances from themselves than they place the other siblings with respect to the Kvebaek Family Sculpture Technique. The results indicate that siblings of mentally retarded children have another frame of reference when judging family relations compared with that of the children in the control group. Thus siblings of mentally retarded children seem to adapt to change in the family because of the mentally retarded child and qualitatively alter their thinking in relation to the family members.[1]


  1. Relations in families with a mentally retarded child from the perspective of the siblings. Andersson, E.A. Scandinavian journal of caring sciences. (1997) [Pubmed]
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