Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




The purpose of this study was to investigate similarities and discrepancies of perceptions of well siblings and parents concerning the effects of an ill child's hospitalization on the family. The following major family areas were identified for study: (a) family maintenance; (b) family relationships; (c) family communication; (d) health attitudes; and (e) perceptions about siblings, parents, and the hospitalized child;The well sibling sample consisted of 31 school age children, 13 boys and 18 girls. Forty-two parents, 26 mothers and 16 fathers of the well and hospitalized children, were also subjects for this study. The hospitalized children were between the ages of 3 and 15 years and were hospitalized for two or more days;An interviewer administered a 135 item structured interview concerning perceptions about the hospitalization to the well sibling. After the well siblings were interviewed, parents were asked to complete a demographic information form along with an 83 item paper pencil questionnaire concerning parents' perceptions about the hospitalization;Upon completion of the data collection, 53 close-ended items from the well sibling's and parent's questionnaires were coded for use in this study. Two methods of computing were applied to the data. This is, with a 2 x 2 table, the traditional chi-square test was utilized; with all other tables, the diagonal totals were taken against all other cells (Light, 1971). Chi-squares and scattergrams were utilized to examine the agreement or disagreement between the responses of the (1) well siblings and mothers, (2) well siblings and fathers, and (3) mothers and fathers;The agreement between family members' perceptions of the hospitalization experience on the 53 items consisted of 42 significant chi-squares out of the 159 agreement combinations. Mothers and well siblings agreed on 17 of 53 items, fathers and well siblings agreed on 9 of 53 items, and mothers and fathers agreed on 16 of 53 items. Thus, the findings of this study indicate that parents are not always the best spokespersons for the well siblings and that the well siblings may respond more extremely to the hospitalization than their parents perceive.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Charlotte Rae Wallinga



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242 pages