Orit Cohen-Shtiler, MA in Clinical Psychology, Haifa University, Israel.
Clinical psychologist since 2009. Today working as a supervisor of interns in clinical psychology and a health care manager at a pre-school facility for children with Autism at The Children at Risk organization, for treatment and research of Autism. She holds a B.A in Psychology and communication from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem since 2005 and an M.A in clinical psychology from Haifa University. Between 2010-2019 worked as a psychologist at the psychiatric clinic for children and adolescence at the Sheba Medical Center. A graduate of a psychotherapy program of The Tel Aviv Institute for Contemporary Psychoanalysis.
Grief and Growth of Bereaved Siblings as related to Attachment Dimensions and Coping Strategies
Building on attachment theory (Bowlby, 1969), Emotional Security Theory (EST, Davies & Cummings, Sibling relationships have attributes shared with other interpersonal relationships, but also have unique characteristics. Siblings use each other as touchstones, in search for personal identity and understanding of the world around them. Hence sibling's death entails multiple loss - loss of a playmate, confidante, role model, and friend. Studies focusing on surviving siblings' experience exhibit feelings of isolation and confusion during the grieving period as well as in later stages in life. In spite of the enormity of the impact of this type of experience, there is little empirical literature on the effects of sibling loss. In particular, only few studies examined in the context of sibling's loss the relationships between attachment style and coping strategies or the potential of PTG - posttraumatic growth. These issues were considered in our study, conducted on 150 bereaved siblings in Israel. Two attachment related dimensions - avoidance and anxiety, together with two coping strategies – trauma-focused and forward-focused, were studied as related to grief and growth. The two attachment dimensions were found to be inversely associated with growth and positively associated with grief, whereas the two coping strategies were found to be inversely associated with grief and positively associated with growth. Interrelations were found between the two coping strategies and the two attachment dimensions and the four of them together explained close to 20% of the variance in growth and about 44% of the variance in grief. These findings, together with qualitative data from interviews and the fact that only 28% of our respondents were classified as exhibiting secure attachment style, elucidate the importance of understanding siblings' bereavement and its implications.