Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 1053–1065

Adolescent Siblings of Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Testing a Diathesis-Stress Model of Sibling Well-Being


    • Department of Occupational TherapyBoston University
  • Marsha Mailick Seltzer
    • Waisman CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10803-009-0722-7

Cite this article as:
Orsmond, G.I. & Seltzer, M.M. J Autism Dev Disord (2009) 39: 1053. doi:10.1007/s10803-009-0722-7


The purpose of this study was to test a diathesis-stress model of well-being for siblings who have a brother or sister with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Data were collected from 57 adolescents and their mothers. Sisters reported higher levels of depressive and anxiety symptoms than brothers. Having a family history of ASDs was associated with depressive, but not anxiety, symptoms. A high level of maternal depression was also associated with more depressive and anxiety symptoms. A diathesis-stress model was partially supported, primarily through the findings that sibling sub-threshold autism characteristics were associated with depressive and anxiety symptoms in siblings, but only in the presence of a high number of stressful life events.



Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009