SibACCESS Sibling Program


A New Program to Support the Siblings of Youth with Cancer!

SibACCESS (Acceptance, Coping, Communication, Engagement, and Social Support)

Cancer can be tough for all members of the family – including siblings. Siblings tell us that they want to be able to understand and manage their feelings and challenges related to cancer. Many siblings also want to connect with other siblings who can relate to their experience of cancer. Therefore, SibACCESS was developed as a virtual space for adolescents to connect with each other and build skills together. SibACCESS is focused on siblings, and also includes a brief parent education component.

We are inviting siblings (ages 12 to 17) of youth with cancer and their parents/caregivers to participate in the SibACCESS pilot trial. Sibling groups will be run by master’s- and doctoral-level therapists from Boston University who have years of experience working with adolescents. SibACCESS participation will last approximately 3 months. This includes participating in the SibACCESS program, as well as completing surveys and providing feedback about how to make this program even better in the future!

There is no cost to participate. Each family can receive up to $260 for their participation in this research program.

Hurry – enrollment ends on 2/27/2023!


Please see below for further program details.

Participation Steps:


Participation Steps for SibACCESS

Approximately 3 months total!

Details about the SibACCESS Program:

All meetings:

  • On Zoom
  • Once a week (after school or on weekends)

For Siblings: 

  • 1 orientation meeting (30 minutes) with the sibling, caregiver, and program leader so we can learn about you and your family and you can learn about the program
  • 7 sibling group meetings (75 minutes each) to receive support from other siblings and build skills for navigating emotions related to cancer
  • 1 individual sibling meeting with the program leader to create personalized goals (45 minutes)

For Parents/Caregivers:

  • 1 orientation meeting (30 minutes) with the sibling, caregiver, and program leader to learn about the program
  • 1 pre-recorded webinar on how to support siblings when a child has cancer
  • 1 individual meeting with the program leader to discuss personalized ways to support their child (the sibling)

SibACCESS Session Overview:

Session Name Content Participants Length
Orientation meeting Individual family meeting to connect, learn about the family, and share info about the program Sibling & Caregiver 30 min
Caregiver Pre-Session:

Webinar on Supporting Siblings

Guidance for parents/caregivers on common sibling responses to cancer and strategies to support siblings Caregiver 30 min (prerecorded)
Session 1: Program introduction Building community with other siblings and program leaders, and learning about cancer Sibling group 75 min
Session 2: Understanding emotions Identifying cancer-related emotions and how they relate to thoughts, physical sensations, and behaviors Sibling group 75 min
Session 3: Adaptive thinking Identifying automatic thoughts about cancer (e.g., worry thoughts), and learning to challenge these thoughts Sibling group 75 min
Session 4: Sitting with emotions Noticing our emotions, letting ourselves feel them without judgment, and practicing acceptance of things outside our control Sibling group 75 min
Session 5: Avoidance vs. facing emotions Identifying when we have the urge to avoid things that remind us of cancer, and learning about why it can be good to start to face harder emotions and situations Sibling group 75 min
Session 6: Telling your story Individual sibling meeting to reflect on progress, create individualized goals for facing our

emotions/situations, and practice telling the sibling’s personal story of how cancer has affected them

Sibling (Individual) 45 min
Session 7: Keeping up with skills Trouble-shooting challenges faced when practicing skills, continuing to tell the sibling’s cancer story Sibling group 75 min
Session 8: Caregiver checkin Individual caregiver meeting to provide tips for ways caregivers can continue to support the sibling Caregiver 45 min
Session 9: Wrap-up Reflecting on program progress and learnings, creating a plan for continued skill practice, celebrating progress with families Sibling group & caregivers 75 min (parents join for 30 min)

Who is Eligible?

  • Adolescent siblings ages 12-17 and a parent/caregiver
  • The child with cancer must have received the cancer diagnosis at least 3 months before the group starts


If you are interested in learning more about the SibACCESS Study:

Please contact Kristin Long, PhD (Principal Investigator)
Phone: 857-302-0830


Click here to contact the research team.