Danielle Anna Hughes, PsyD, is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England.

Dissertation Committee

  • Martha Straus, PhD (Committee Chair)
  • William Slammon, PhD (Committee Member)
  • Michael Foot, PhD (Committee Member)


health narratives, chronic illness, siblings

Document Type


Publication Date



The sibling relationship brings with it a powerful experience and unique effects on individual development. Within this paper the personal health narratives of adult siblings who grew up with a chronically ill brother or sister are explored in depth. Using a naturalistic, qualitative paradigm and approach to the research a small sample of participants (N=7) provided in depth, semi-structured interviews geared to explore their experiences growing up with their siblings, and later effects on the development of personal health narratives. Using thematic analysis, a number of themes were identified including: (a) at home: finding out, the early relationship, early environment, and family role; (b) retrospective early needs; (c) anxiety; (d) guilt; e) increased empathy, compassion, and awareness; (f) a different worldview; (g) the sibling turn; (h) health perspective and experiences: retrospective health narratives at the family level, mediated adult health narratives, and general self-care. A model of understanding the development of health narratives and general self-care is offered for well siblings. The utility of these themes for clinical practice and directions for future research are discussed.