The Role of Personal Loss in the Caregiving Experiences of Well Siblings of Adults With Serious Mental Illness


Please address correspondence to: Jaclyn Leith, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403. E-mail



The present study examined the role of personal loss due to mental illness and meaning-related coping strategies on reports of caregiving among well siblings of adults with serious mental illness.


A sample of 103 well siblings of adults with serious mental illness completed an online survey. Participants were recruited through websites related to mental illness and through contact with leaders of family support groups.


Personal loss, not meaning-related coping, was the strongest predictor of current caregiving among well siblings. Well siblings’ age, support group affiliation, and perceived level of sibling dependence also contributed to variation in reports of current caregiving.


Personal loss has powerful implications for research and interventions focused on sibling involvement in caregiving for adults with mental illness.