Sibling Abuse_ Implications for the Development of Intimacy by hcj


									     Sibling Abuse:
 Detection and Advocacy

 Amy Meyers, PhD, LCSW
The College of New Rochelle
       April 15, 2011
 Purpose
 Relevance
 Define sibling abuse
 Repercussions of sibling abuse
 Contributing family factors
 Emotional Resonance
 Intimate Relationships of the survivor
 Risk and Resilience
 Detection and Advocacy
      Purpose of the Study

 survivors’ characterization of physical and
  emotional abusive experiences.
 the effect of sibling abuse on survivors’
  intimate relationships in adulthood.
          Elements of Intimacy

 Trust
 Conflict
 Communication
 Satisfaction
 Dependence/Independence
 Imperative to the fields of:
   Child welfare
   Child and family services
   School social work
   Pediatric social work
   Clinical practice
           Defining Sibling Abuse
 insistent, consistent, and persistent charges of
  inadequacy, intimidation or control through
  physical force and/or emotional denigration (Wiehe,
 intention, or the perceived intention, of causing
  physical or emotional pain or injury (Gelles, 1979).
 rejecting, isolating, terrorizing and/or corrupting
  (Hart et. al. 1987).
 The abusive sibling relationship is characterized by
  fear, shame, and hopelessness (Kiselica & Morrill-Richards,
          Physical and Emotional
              Sibling Abuse
Physical abuse
    bruises, welts, abrasions, lacerations, wounds, cuts, bone fractures
    behavior that is physically intrusive, physically painful and
     experienced as physically overwhelming

   Emotional abuse
    active expressions of rejection
    actions that deprecate the sibling
      verbal denigration and ridicule

      actions or threat that cause a sibling extreme fear and anxiety

       (Schneider et. al, 2005).
   Sibling Abuse is Not Sibling Rivalry
 Sibling rivalry > a normative developmental
 process among siblings
   Includes bouts of jealousy, aggression, and low-
    level violence
   Fosters skills of competition, negotiation, and
    conflict resolution (Gelles & Cornell, 1985)

Sibling abuse > intention or the perceived intention
  of causing physical or emotional pain or injury
  • Persistent and unrelenting acts
      Literature Review: Sibling Abuse
 Sibling abuse has repercussions in adult relationships
  (Wiehe, 1990)
 Victimization and later dating violence amongst survivors
  (Simonelli et. al., 2002)
 Learned helplessness among adult survivors (McLaurin, 2005)
 Emotional cutting off of siblings leads to depression,
  anxiety and subsequent difficulty with intimacy (Caffaro &
  Conn-Caffaro, 1998)
 Foster children at high risk for sibling abusive relationships
  (Linares, 2006)
 Ethnic differences in the interpretation and experiences of
  sibling abuse (Rapoza, Cook, Zaveri, & Malley-Morrison, 2010).
                    Literature Review:
                   Sibling Relationships
 Siblings influence:
    Socialization
    Perceptions of interpersonal relatedness (Leader, 2007)

    Positive sibling relationships lead to:
         Higher self-esteem and emotional well-being
         Less depression and social anxiety (Sperling & Berman, 1994)

         Sibling relationships inform aspects of intimacy:
           Power and hierarchy

           Fairness and justice

           Communication styles

           Conflict resolution

           Friendship and loyalty
       Theoretical Framework

 Family Systems
 Object Relations
 Resiliency
                  Research Methodology

 Qualitative, exploratory study
 Grounded theory and phenomenological approach
 (Strauss & Corbin, 1998)
 Purposive, convenience sample
 Subject recruitment through fliers, online
  advertisements, email list serves, colleges and
 Subject criteria: 21 years or older and self-
  identified survivor of childhood or adolescent
  physical or emotional sibling abuse
       Characteristics of Informants
 13 cases of physical and emotional abuse and 6
  cases of emotional abuse only

 16 female; 3 male
   Predominantly male>female (11) perpetration;
    5 female>female; 3 male>male

 Age range, 25-65 years old; median age = 40.

 Sibling age difference: one to 10 years; median
  difference = 2 years
    How Informants Describe
         Sibling Abuse

 “Psychological torture”
 “Traumatic”

 “Debilitating”

 “Damaging”

 “Tragic”

 “Devastating”

 “Relentless”
Emotional Resonance
  Compromised sense of self

   Inability to TRUST others

   • Insecurity
   • Fear of abandonment
   • Fear of dependence
   • Skepticism around support
   • Difficulty tolerating intense
         Emotional Resonance
• sense of aloneness
• lack of validation regarding their experience
• lack of societal differentiation between sibling
  abuse and sibling rivalry > SA as normative

 lack of entitlement to one’s perception of things
 lack of self-worth
           Intimate Relationships
 Expectations of abandonment and difficulty
  trusting others results in:

     ∙ Anxiety and insecurity
     ∙ Fear of dependence
     ∙ Conforming and pleasing behavior
     ∙ Attachment to emotionally unavailable partners
     ∙ Difficulty trusting others
     ∙ Sexual promiscuity
  Healthy Family Functioning
“Healthy” family functioning:
 caring and mutually supportive relationships;
  effective parental leadership and autonomy;
 protection of children;
 consistent patterns of interaction inclusive of clear
 rules and expectations;
  acceptance of a range of emotional expressions; and
 effective conflict-resolution processes (Walsh, 1993)
                Parental Response
 Passivity; lack of presence; uninvolved

 Punitive; blaming the abused sibling or corporal
  punishment of the abusive sibling

 Collusion with the abusive sibling

 Unable to manage the abusive sibling

 Therapy for the abused sibling
Protective Factors: Childhood
  Supportive adult
     Another sibling
     Extended family member
     Mentor
     Friend’s parent

 • Creative outlets
 • Therapy
- Child abuse
- Child neglect (even in its more subtle forms)
- Single parent status
- Financial stress
- Siblings with disabilities, substance abuse, or
    behavioral problems
-   Siblings in caregiver roles
-   Poor parental modeling
-   Inappropriate hierarchical relations
-   Limited supports/social capital
  Policy   – Child Welfare
     o Develop statutes to assess for sibling abuse
     o Monitor identification of sibling abuse in child
       welfare cases
 Organizations and Community
 o   Develop and implement assessment tools
 o   Psycho-education of parents
 o   Parenting skills

 o   Clinical Interventions
     o Develop support systems
     o Extracurricular activities
     o Mentors/role models
Amy Meyers, PhD, LCSW

References: Available for distribution

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