The Sibling Empty Nest Syndrome: The Experience of Sadness as Siblings Leave the Family Home

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sibling relationships, empty nest syndrome, sadness


Many researchers have investigated the phenomenon of the “empty nest syndrome” which describes the experience of loss and identity crisis that parents encounter when all of the children are launched from the home. Although we know that sibling relationships create significant bonds, few researchers have applied this experience to the last remaining sibling when all other siblings have left home. This study demonstrated that the last remaining siblings do experience feelings of sadness when all other siblings leave home, or an “empty nest experience.” Greater degrees of closeness of the relationship seem to increase this effect.


This article was originally published as Rosen, E., Ackerman, L., & Zosky, D. (2002). Sibling empty nest syndrome. The Journal of Human Behavior and the Social Environment, 6, 1, 65-80.