Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Rebecca Zarate


Sibling relationships have a profound influence on development, psychological health, and various interpersonal relationships. Within sibling relationships exists complex dynamics of both warmth and conflict that can easily lead to abuse. Many people could be victims of sibling abuse and not even realize it. Various cultural norms not only dismiss many signs of sibling abuse as normal, but minimize and hide the abuse as well. Despite the growing relevance of sibling relationships in adulthood, there is a significant lack of research on siblings in the field of music therapy. Using an individual, single session model, this research study explored the complexities of sibling relationships with older adults through the use of songwriting. Results revealed themes highly congruent with the literature review, including themes around physical and mental health, conflict and rivalry, and warmth and complexity. The results also provided multiple discoveries which deviate from the literature, including parental influence, marriage, and dynamics between older adult siblings. Findings from this critical review of the literature provide a more holistic perspective of older adult clients within music therapy, as well as deeper insights into critical and unique intergenerational and transgenerational issues of culture, closeness, economics, politics, and sibling abuse in sibling relationships.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.




The author owns the copyright to this work.