Modeling Family Dynamics in Children with Fragile X Syndrome
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- Hall, S.S., Burns, D.D. & Reiss, A.L. J Abnorm Child Psychol (2007) 35: 29. doi:10.1007/s10802-006-9081-4
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Few studies have examined the impact of children with genetic disorders and their unaffected siblings on family functioning. In this study, the reciprocal causal links between problem behaviors and maternal distress were investigated in 150 families containing a child with fragile X syndrome (FXS) and an unaffected sibling. Both children's behavior problems appeared to have strong, direct effects on maternal distress, but maternal distress did not appear to have any reciprocal causal effects on either child's behavior problems. Surprisingly, there were no significant differences in the effects of the two children's behavior problems on maternal distress. These data suggest that the problem behaviors of children with FXS, as well as their unaffected siblings, can have a substantial and additive impact on maternal depression and anxiety. Future research efforts should employ longitudinal research designs to confirm these findings.