You are here

  1. Home
  2. The Caregiver Identity in Context: Consequences of Identity Threat From Siblings

The Caregiver Identity in Context: Consequences of Identity Threat From Siblings

Objectives: Although siblings represent central members of the networks of caregivers and their parents, there has been limited attention to how siblings affect one another's well-being during caregiving. In this article, we draw from theories of identity and stress to examine the impact that siblings have on caregivers' psychological well-being. Specifically, we employ a mixed-methods approach to explore whether caregivers' perceptions that their siblings are critical of the care they provide their mother are associated with higher depressive symptoms and the mechanisms underlying this association. Methods: Using quantitative data collected from 404 caregivers nested within 231 families as part of the Within-Family Differences Study, we conduct mediation analyses to examine whether perceived sibling criticisms are associated with caregivers' depressive symptoms (a) directly and/or (b) indirectly through sibling tension. We then analyze qualitative data collected from the same caregivers to gain insight into the processes underlying statistical associations. Results: Quantitative analyses revealed that there was no direct relationship between perceived sibling criticisms and depressive symptoms; there was, however, an indirect relationship such that perceived sibling criticisms were associated with greater sibling tension, which in turn was associated with higher depressive symptoms. These quantitative findings were corroborated by qualitative analyses, which demonstrated that, in an effort to mitigate the negative impact of sibling criticisms, caregivers often employed strategies that may have fueled sibling tension. Discussion: These findings demonstrate how identity processes, as well as the family networks in which caregiving takes place, shape the experiences and consequences of parent care.

Access source material through DOI
Original source (some source materials require subscription or permission to access)

Key Information

Type of Reference
Type of Work
Journal article
The Gerontological Society of America
Publication Year
Issue Number
Journal Titles
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Social Sciences
Volume Number
Start Page
End Page