American Journal of Nursing Research
ISSN (Print): 2378-5594 ISSN (Online): 2378-5586 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Nursing Research. 2020, 8(3), 372-378
DOI: 10.12691/ajnr-8-3-7
Open AccessArticle

Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms among Siblings of Terminally Ill ‎Children

Enas Nagah Mousa Sayed-Ahmed1, , Rehab Hassan KafL2 and Somaya Elsayed Abou-Abdou3

1‎Demonstrator of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Suez Canal ‎University, Egypt

2Pediatric Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Suez Canal University, Egypt

3Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Suez Canal ‎University, Egypt

Pub. Date: April 13, 2020

Cite this paper:
Enas Nagah Mousa Sayed-Ahmed, Rehab Hassan KafL and Somaya Elsayed Abou-Abdou. Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms among Siblings of Terminally Ill ‎Children. American Journal of Nursing Research. 2020; 8(3):372-378. doi: 10.12691/ajnr-8-3-7


Background: The sibling relationship is usually the first, most intense, and longest peer relation that an ‎individual will ever have. Therefore, having a brother/sister with terminal illness poses a risk to the siblings' ‎mental health because of the stress they are under and insufficient support from others. Aim: This study aimed ‎to assess post-traumatic stress symptomatology among siblings of terminally ill children in Ismailia city. Design: ‎descriptive design was adopted for this study. Sample: purposeful sample of eighty one siblings of children with ‎terminal illness. Tool of data collection: the data was gathered through structured interview ‎where the tool was divided into two parts: the first part includes: demographic characteristics of the studied ‎subjects and the second part includes: The Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS). Results: All siblings of children ‎with terminal illness in this study have met criteria of post-traumatic stress symptomatology (PTSS) with nearly ‎half of them had severe symptoms. Conclusion: siblings of children with terminal illness are at substantial risk ‎for PTSS. Recommendation: Create supporting groups for siblings as an ongoing service where siblings of ‎children with terminal illness have an opportunity to meet with others in a similar situation and share their ‎experiences and feelings.

siblings terminal illness post-traumatic stress symptoms

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Rauf, A. L. (2012). Parental Perspectives of Relationship Changes when Faced with Childhood Cancer on Healthy Sibling Relationships (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology).
[2]  Long, K. A., Alderfer, M. A., Ewing, L. J., & Marsland, A. L. (2013). The role of contextual threat in predicting self-reported distress among siblings of children with cancer. Journal of clinical psychology in medical settings, 20(2), 199-208.
[3]  Hockenberry, M. J., Wilson, D., & Wong, D. L. (2015). Pain assessment and management in children. Wong’s nursing care of infants and children. Mosby, Elsevier, St. Louis, 155.
[4]  Malcolm, C., Gibson, F., Adams, S., Anderson, G., & Forbat, L. (2014). A relational understanding of sibling experiences of children with rare life-limiting conditions: Findings from a qualitative study. Journal of Child Health Care, 18(3), 230240.
[5]  Yang, H. C., Mu, P. F., Sheng, C. C., Chen, Y. W., & Hung, G. Y. (2016). A systematic review of the experiences of siblings of children with cancer. Cancer Nursing, 39(3), E12-E21.
[6]  Taylor, Julie, Jan Greenberg, Marsha Seltzer, Frank Floyd. (2008). “Siblings of Adults with Mild Intellectual Deficits or Mental Illness: Differential Life Course Outcomes.” Journal of Family Psychology 22: 905-914.
[7]  Havermans, T., Croock, I. D., Vercruysse, T., Goethals, E., & Diest, I. V. (2015). Belgian siblings of children with a chronic illness: Is their quality of life different from their peers? Journal of Child Health Care, 19(2), 154-166.
[8]  Vanderwerp, L. S. (2011). Siblings and Illness. Vanderbilt Undergraduate Research Journal, 7.
[9]  Humphrey, L. M., Hill, D. L., Carroll, K. W., Rourke, M., Kang, T. I., & Feudtner, C. (2015). Psychological well-being and family environment of siblings of children with life threatening illness. Journal of palliative medicine, 18(11), 981-984.
[10]  American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th edition.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.
[11]  Kaplan, L. M., Kaal, K. J., Bradley, L., & Alderfer, M. A. (2013). Cancer-related traumatic stress reactions in siblings of children with cancer. Families, Systems, & Health, 31(2), 205-215.
[12]  Long, K. A., Lehmann, V., Gerhardt, C. A., Carpenter, A. L., Marsland, ‎A. L. & Alderfer, M.A. (2018). Psychosocial functioning and risk ‎factors among siblings of children with cancer: An updated systemati ‎review. Psycho-Oncology, 27(6), 1467-1479.‎
[13]  Andrews, B., Brewin, C. R., Philpott, R., & Stewart, L. (2007). Delayed-onset posttraumatic stress disorder: A systematic review of the evidence. American Journal of Psychiatry, 164, 1319-1326.
[14]  Mash, E., & Wolfe, D. (2016). Abnormal child psychology, 6th edition. ‎Cengage Learning: Boston, USA, P. 268-270, 312-314, 359-361, ‎‎405, 418-420. ‎
[15]  Kieffer-Kristensen, R., Teasdale, T. W., & Bilenberg, N. (2011). Post-traumatic stress symptoms and psychological functioning in children of parents with acquired brain injury, Journal of Brain Injury, 25(7-8), 752-760.
[16]  Foa, E.B., Johnson, K.M., Feeny, N.C., & Treadwell, K.R.H. (2001). The child PTSD symptom scale (CPSS): A preliminary examination of its psychometric properties. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 30, 376-384.
[17]  Dunn, MJ, Rodriguez, EM, Barnwell, AS, Grossenbacher, JC, Vannatta, K, Gerhardt, CA, & Compas, BE. (2012). Posttraumatic stress symptoms in parents of children with cancer within six months of diagnosis. Health Psychology, 31, 176-185.
[18]  Masa'deh, R., & Jarrah, S. (2017). Post-traumatic stress disorder in parents of children with cancer in Jordan. Archives of psychiatric nursing, 31(1), 8-12.
[19]  Kiser, L. J., & Black, M. M. (2005). Family processes in the midst of urban poverty: What does the trauma literature tell us? Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10(6), 715-750.
[20]  Buchbinder, D., Casillas, J., Krull, K. R., Goodman, P., Leisenring, W., Recklitis, C., Robison, L.L., Armstrong, T.G., Kunin-Batson, A., Stuber, M., & Zeltzer, K .L. (2011). Psychological outcomes of siblings of cancer survivors: a report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Psycho-Oncology, 20(12), 1259-1268.