Perder um irmão até à adolescência
: a experiência e o significado na vida adulta

  • Sílvia da Encarnação de Barros Ramos

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Loss and grief are part of life, but losing a sibling is a momentous event in someone’s life, especially if this happens during childhood or adolescence, and it may impact not only one’s mental health but also the parental and fraternal relationships, as well as other spheres which define life. As the meaning of this experience when transitioning to adult life is unknown, namely in the attitude towards health, we aimed to describe the experience of losing a sibling in childhood or adolescence, its meaning in adult life and to identify the impact on healthcare provision, namely for nursing. With this in mind, we conducted an interpretative phenomenological study. Twenty-one participants from the general population were intentionally selected, in accordance with previously established inclusion criteria. Information was collected from non-structured and necessarily deep interviews. The phenomenon revealed itself through the participants’ narrative, in five common themes which were denominated as “echoes from living fraternal grief”, “looking for a reason”, “happiness is moments!”, “sources of internal strength” and “life and health today”. We reached the conclusion that experiencing fraternal grief during childhood or adolescence will forever shape someone’s life, specifically regarding relationships and, later, meaning attributed to health. Nurses, through the frequent opportunities of closeness to children and families, are in a privileged position to identify those who suffered a loss and need help and specific interventions. The importance of identifying signs and characteristics of a fraternal loss during childhood or adolescence and of evaluating its impact in family life is recognized, which justify a planned intervention aiming to minimize the effects that may arise in adulthood. The impact of the death of a child in the life of her siblings and other close relatives or friends is identified, as well as a model of intervention that necessarily aims for an holistic support to the grieving family. Despite the interest of the results, the limitation of the method and sample that require further studies to validate the findings.
Date of Award17 Sept 2018
Original languagePortuguese
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorMargarida Maria Vieira (Supervisor)


  • Child
  • Adolescent
  • Grief
  • Sibling bereavement
  • Nursing


  • Doutoramento em Enfermagem

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