Interação entre irmãos de indivíduos com deficiência mental: o papel da idade e do apoio social da família.
Nunes, Célia Cristina
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The presence of a disabled child in a family affects not only the parents but also other members, mainly, the siblings. This members can be involved directly and indirectly with the care of the disabled brother or sister, and this population is at risk for behavioral and psychological adjustment problems. However, this field of research is narrow, mainly in Brazil. The way in which brothers and sisters react to the presence of a disabled child depends on several things, like social support available to the family and the age of the siblings. Most investigations in this field is interested in the psychological adjustment of brothers and sisters, and little attention is paid to the interaction between them and its relation with some aspects of the family and the siblings. Thus, the purpose of the present study was: 1. To describe the relationship in sibling s dyads, separated in two groups one with the mentally retarded sibling with age between 10 to 14 years old (Group 1), and another with the mentally retarded sibling with age between 21 to 24 years old (Group 2); 2. To compare the performance in the relationships of the both groups; and 3. To assess if there are differences in the relationships between the groups when the family social support and resources are considered. Two sessions of sibling s interactions in game situations (domino) and daily situations (listening to music) and one session of a sibling s daily activity were videotaped. The following instruments were used with the siblings: Formulário de Irmãos (Sibling s Questionnaire) and Interview with Siblings of Person with Disability. In terms of the caretakers the following scales were used: the Escala de Apoio da Família (Family Support Scale), the Escala de Recursos da Família ( Family Resources Scale) and the Escala de Apoio à Maternidade/Paternidade (Parenting Support from Family and Friends Scale). Results related to the relationship suggested that the larger difference between the groups referred to the behavior s category of helper, with higher occurrence in the Group 1 than the Group 2. This result was supported for the interview s report. Scales results indicated significant statistically difference between the groups only for the Parenting Support from Family and Friends Scale, with higher level of this support for Group 1. Thus, it is possible to suggest that because families from Group 1 have lower levels of support from families and friends than Group 2 (measured with the Parenting Support from Family and Friends Scale), there is a greater help required from the disabled member, which can be compensated by the brother or sister. Young siblings with typical development performed the helper s role in greater level than adults siblings do it. This research draws attention to futures investigations with larger numbers of participants, and to investigations of the relation between sibling s relationship and gender, and the severity of the disabled sibling. Key-Words: Siblings relationships; Mental Disability; Social Support; Observation.