A Model of Sibling Relationships in Young People with Perinatally Acquired Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Hannah Deakin

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Significant HIV-related stressors affecting young adults with perinatally acquired HIV (PHIV+) and their siblings can include parental ill-health or death, sibling ill-health or death, HIV disclosure, stigma and discrimination. Young people are more likely to disclose their HIV status to family members than externally, highlighting that siblings can provide important peer relationships and potential sources of support. Research into the sibling relationships of young people with PHIV+ is currently limited.
The aim of this study was to develop a model of sibling relationships in young people with PHIV+. The sample consisted of 10 young people with PHIV+. Participants aged between 16-25 years old were recruited from two London NHS HIV clinics. Four male and six female participants (median age 20.5 years) each took part in a semi-structured interview. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using Grounded Theory. Participants also completed a measure of the perceived sibling relationship and of subjective well-being.
Data analysis led to a theoretical model comprising four theoretical codes: 1) Personal adjustment to PHIV+ diagnosis; 2) PHIV+ disclosure in the sibling relationship; 3) Patterns of communication about PHIV+ between siblings; and 4) Patterns of coping and support in the PHIV+ sibling relationship. Key findings include a PHIV+ young person’s perceived lack of control around disclosure of their HIV status to sibling(s) and variations in levels of HIV support and communication between siblings based on their experiences of disclosure. It is hoped that the resulting model will inform therapeutic interventions with this population, to improve levels of well-being and coping with the psychosocial challenges associated with PHIV+ in affected families. Possibilities for future research are also presented.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Evangeli, Michael, Supervisor
  • Frize, Graham, Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Nov 2017
Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


  • Perinatally Acquired HIV
  • Siblings
  • Young Adult
  • HIV
  • Sibling Relationship
  • Social Support
  • HIV Disclosure
  • Communication
  • Coping

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