Institute of Education


UCL and Warwick University launch research advisory group exploring sibling relationships

2 March 2018

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) has launched a ground-breaking Sibling Research Advisory Group in conjunction with UCL Institute of Child Health and the University of Warwick.

Brother and sister

The Sibling Research Advisory Group aims to inform and shape research as well as lead to other initiatives that involve young siblings.

The first session recently took place at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health.

Several siblings aged 11-18 came to the session to discuss research priorities related to their experiences, needs and opportunities for wellbeing as siblings growing up with a brother or sister with a long-term health condition or disability.

The group engaged with topics relating to the importance of siblings' health conditions, the ethnic background of the family, the attitudes of local communities and family income.

"Sibling relationship has the unique potential to be the longest-enduring bond, with the potential to create shared experiences that last throughout the life course", said researcher Georgia Pavlopoulou.

"It plays a central role in family life and is the first and most intense peer relationship that the child experiences and serves as the child's first social network. Although sibling relationships are an important context for development, they are still often ignored in research and proactive interventions with families.

"By involving the public and engaging in research 'with' siblings, rather than doing research 'on' or 'about' siblings, we hope our research will be more relevant and applicable."

The Sibling Research Advisory Group is hoping to run future consultation groups to facilitate more sessions.

The Sibling Research Advisory Group is organised by Mhairi McKenzie (UCL Institute of Child Heath, Population Policy & Practice), Georgia Pavlopoulou (UCL Institute of Education, Department of Psychology and Human Development, LiLAS Lab) and Nikita Hayden (University of Warwick, Centre for Educational Development Appraisal and Research).

The organisers are PhD candidates looking at the wellbeing, relationships and experiences of siblings of children with a range of chronic health conditions or disabilities such as: cystic fibrosis and neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism, Down syndrome, and Williams syndrome.

Media contact

Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations
+44 (0)20 3108 8516