Identity is an underlying component of various developmental milestones. Each step or stage (depending on the theorist) implies that the individual works at developing a comprehensive understanding of one’s self. Parsons and Fox’s theory on modern family with illness and the theory of psychosocial impact provide insight into the effects of growing up with a younger brother suffering from a chronic illness. As a sibling I had high expectations for my role as a sister. Living with a younger brother that had a physical illness became emotionally draining at times because of the ambiguity of not knowing what life would bring for him tomorrow. I struggled more with losing attention from my mother due to the salience of my brother’s physical illness. This experience led to poor psychological adjustments including isolation and feelings of despair. Goffman’s theory of stigma and the Superwoman Schema provide insight into the effects of my family experiencing the stigma of being black and resisting therapy. In recalling a recommendation for my family to attend therapy, my brother laughed and my mom said no. This resistant and chaotic family environment led me to exhibit poor copings skills, misinterpret the concept of resilience, and internalize the well-established stigma. Despite such deficits, continued life experiences have shaped me to have a deeper connection to empathy and a stronger desire to help families and children.
Howe (1993) concluded that siblings of children with a chronic illness are at a higher risk than other children for psychological problems. My younger brother was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease when we were young. It was unexpected, and there was no previous indication. We spent many days and holidays s...
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...z et al. (2008) described mental health consumers as having a fear of social judgment, social rejection, and discrimination. This fear of discrimination extends to feelings of being teased, laughed at, gossiped about, ostracized, and discrimination to the extent of being denied job opportunities.
Goffman (1963) described social stigma theory in three forms, but the two currently relevant are stigma of character trait and stigma of group identity. Stigma of character trait is defined as a blemish of individual character trait. An example is having a record of a mental disorder and therefore being social deemed weak-willed. The inference comes from a social label. Stigma of the group identity is identified through relation with a larger social group such as race, religion, or a nation. All stigmas in this form are from a lineage and by definition effects all members.
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