Study: The study was carried out as part of a master’s thesis in 2013 (unstructured interview, based on grounded theory methodology) and involved eighteen siblings of children with four types of chronic diseases: incurable genetic and neurological diseases, oncological diseases, mental disorders and diabetes.
Results: Based on the research, ten areas of life have been selected in which the impact of the disease is most apparent:
1. An internal world often filled with feelings of fear, sadness and remorse.
2. Relationships with the sick sibling – strong empathy with him/her.
3. Entanglement in the sick siblings’ life.
4. Relationships with parents- an unfulfilled need for contact and intimacy.
5. Relationships with peers- sense of difference, withdrawal.
6. Low self-esteem.
7. The role of the family hero.
8. Worsened physical well-being.
9. Financial problems.
10. Difficulties in school.
Discussion: Despite the small sample, we gathered a large amount of data on the specificity of the problems experienced by siblings of sick children. The findings show that, over the years of chronic disease, the siblings experience many difficulties that often limit their opportunities for development and impede their entrance into adulthood. Awareness of these difficulties should encourage consideration of assistance programs to improve their quality of life and increase their social opportunities.