The Relationship of Stress and Coping to Emotions Among Adolescents with Disabled Siblings
Harden, Ann Swomley
Holloway, Susan D.
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This research investigated the relationship of stress and coping to emotions among adolescents with disabled siblings. Potentially, stress comes from three sources: the relationship between the disabled and nondisabled siblings, the relationship between the normal sibling and his parents, and the relationship between the normal sibling and the community-at-large. The strategies used to cope with these potential stresses affects the emotions that the normal sibling has about his disabled brother or sister. The sample consisted of 58 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. There were 33 females and 25 males. The adolescents filled out three self-report questionnaires: Adolescent Perceived Events Scale, Coping Responses Inventory, and Emotional Response Scale. The research found that the most stressful aspects of life for adolescents with disabled siblings were network events and academics. The positive emotions of enjoyment and tolerance were felt to the greatest extent. Of the negative emotions, anger and fear were experienced most by these adolescents. The coping strategies of problem solving and logical analysis were used most with seeking guidance being the least used coping strategy. Additionally, the study found that adolescents who felt academic stress were unlikely to feel enjoyment and tolerance in their relationships with their disabled siblings. Adolescents who used more coping strategies were likely to feel anger, embarrassment, fear, neglect about their disabled siblings than those who used fewer coping strategies. Also, in spite of their coping efforts, adolescents who felt stress in the area of their boyfriend/girlfriend relationships were less likely to have positive emotions about their disabled siblings. Finally, adolescents who felt stress from family relationships were still likely to have negative emotions about their disabled siblings, even after taking into account their attempts to cope with their problems. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.