Losing a beloved sibling like brother or sister have increased the risk of premature death. A study conducted by Danish researchers diagnosed the health of five million Scandinavian children over the period of 37 years. Around 71 percent of children were prone to an early death.
The death risk was higher in the first year of survey. The individuals who had seen the death of their sibling were also at the higher risk for death from the same cause as their dead sibling. According to the authors, the risk was highest for endocrine, nutritional, metabolic and circulatory system diseases. “We also found a much higher mortality risk for suicide among individuals whose deceased siblings died of suicide”, they added.
Children who had to lose their siblings experienced higher death rates than those who lost their lives in self-harm, traffic accidents and natural causes. The researchers say, “Healthcare professionals should be aware of vulnerability due to sibling death, especially for sibling pairs of close age or the same sex.”
“When compared with other family relationships, the sibling relationship is more emotional and lasts longer. It may have a significant effect on one’s social and emotional lifetime development”, they added.
Dr. Bolton said, “Adolescents who are about to be bereaved already have higher rates of alcohol and drug use disorders and have attempted suicide 70 per cent more often than adolescents who will not experience the death of a sibling.”
Recent research done by CanTeen showed children who see their parents or siblings suffering from cancer are three to six times more likely to face mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Dr. Pandora Patterson, General Manager of Research and Youth Cancer Services at CanTeen says people aged 12-24 tend to feel incredibly isolated and alone but are often “overlooked” by the health system.