Defense Date

1992

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Robert Green

Abstract

The current study investigated family, individual and sibling relationship variables of adult sibling loss, using a cross-sectional survey design. A purposive sampling procedure was used to recruit adult subjects that had experienced the death of an adult sibling within the last five years. Ninety-four subjects responded to the initial request with 84 subjects returning questionnaires for an 89% response rate. Family variables of communication, cohesion, and adaptability and individual variables of individuation, self esteem as well as level of grief were operationalized using standardized instruments through a mailed questionnaire.

It was predicted that significant relationships would be found between family variables and current level of grief. It was also predicted that individual characteristics (individuation, self esteem, church attendance, and cause of death) would be significantly related to the level of grief.

Characteristics of the sibling relationship (frequency of contact, communication, perceived emotional closeness, geographical proximity, age differential and same sex) were predicted to reveal significant relationships. Bivariate analysis yielded support for only four of the sixteen hypotheses. No family variables were related to the subjects’ level of grief at the time of the survey. The individual characteristics of individuation, self esteem and church attendance were all significantly related to the level of grief. Support was also found for the sibling relationship variable of geographical proximity with level of grief. Multivariate regression analysis was used in testing two models that investigated demographic, family, individual and sibling relationship variables with current level of grief. The first model included all variables that were statistically significant at the bivariate level and relevant demographic variables. In addition, the level of grief at death and the amount of time since death were included in the model. The level of grief at death was the strongest predictor of current level of grief. The first model explained 61.7% of the variability of current level of grief. The second model selected those variables that had significant t-values from the first model. The level of emotional involvement was the strongest predictor of the level of grief at death. This model explained 58% of the variability of current level of grief. The level of grief at death was the strongest predictor of the current level of grief in both models.

Comments

Scanned, with permission from the author, from the original print version, which resides in University Archives.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

6-21-2018

Included in

Social Work Commons

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