Intervention and Support for Siblings of Youth with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review

  • Megan E. TudorEmail author
  • Matthew D. Lerner


Both the population of siblings of youth with developmental disabilities (DDs) and the popularity of clinical services designed for these youth are on the rise. However, the research base for such services has yet to be evaluated. A systematic review of studies on intervention and support for siblings of youth with DDs was conducted in order to evaluate the current state of the literature and provide recommendations for research and practice. Sixteen articles were selected and reviewed in terms of their experimental design, participant characteristics, measurement, intervention or support group protocol, outcomes, and dissemination of findings. Results indicate substantial variability in both methodology and outcomes across sibling-focused intervention and support group studies, which put the overall effects and utility of these services into question. Recommendations for future research are outlined, with a focus on advancing a more systematic and careful approach to asking and effectively answering questions about siblings, their families, and meaningful services for both.


Siblings Developmental disabilities Autism Intervention Support Systematic review 



The first author wishes to thank Drs. Daniel O’Leary, John Robinson, Lauren Moskowitz, and Caitlin Walsh for their invaluable feedback on an earlier version of this systematic review. Susie McHugh, Laura Mankuski, Grace (EunJin) Lee, James Rankin, and Patricia Medina are also thanked for their immense help as research assistants.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentStony Brook UniversityStony BrookUSA

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