Examining sibling communication during parental health crises using social support, relational maintenance behaviors, family communication patterns, and relational outcomes
The huge demographic cohort of Baby Boomers is aging, and life expectancy rates are increasing. Even as adults deal with age-related health concerns of their own, they must also deal with health-related crises that may befall their siblings, their parents, their significant others, or their children. The research proposed here examines the ways in which family health crises are managed communicatively by siblings, paying special attention to social support as siblings communicate in response to a family health crisis involving their parents. Further, this project seeks to identify the relational maintenance behaviors necessary for fortifying the sibling bond. In doing so, this research will provide a rare empirical assessment of self-reported sibling communication as he/she endured a past family health crisis involving a parent. Indeed, the study of sibling communication in general has only recently emerged as an area of focus among communication scholars. Moreover, there has been little attention paid to the role of sibling communication in the contexts of family health crises. This project is designed to explicate any difficulties in negotiating the particularly intriguing sibling relationship at a crisis point using interdependence theory and social support as a theoretical starting point. This project will utilize various quantitative methodologies and a participant pool comprised of baby boomers.