A Model of Family and Child Functioning in Siblings of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder
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The potential clinical needs of typically developing (TD) siblings of youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain disputed. A total of 239 mothers of youth aged 6–17, including one youth with ASD (M = 11.14 years; simplex families) and at least one other youth (M = 11.74 years) completed online standardized measures of various familial factors and TD youth outcomes. Overall, only 6–23% of siblings were identified within the clinical range of emotional, behavioral, or social functioning. Both maternal depression and sibling relationship were identified as key pathways in predicting siblings’ functioning within a good-fitting path analysis model. The current model is presented as a novel base for the development of future research and services for this unique population of children.
KeywordsSiblings Parenting Families Autism Externalizing Internalizing
The present study was funded by a grant from the Autism Research Institute (#49071) and Dr. Stephen M. Edelson is thanked tremendously for his support. Collaboration with the Simons Simplex Collection via the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative was also invaluable to the present study. The authors would like to acknowledge Drs. Daniel O’Leary, John Robinson, and Julie Wolf for their invaluable feedback on earlier stages of this project. The following research assistants are also thanked: Lindsay Bungert, Andrea Charidemou, Sora Chenet, Dhara Doshi, Sruthi Jonnalagadda, Patricia Medina, Vladimir Piersaint, and Christine Spaulding. The present project was originally defended as a dissertation and was later presented as part of a panel chaired by the first author at the 2016 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Baltimore, MD. The current project was completed in honor of the first author’s former graduate school advisor, Dr. Edward “Ted” Carr.
This study was funded by the Autism Research Institute (#49071).
MET conceived of the project. MET and MDL created the study design. MET completed data collection with assistance from JR. MET and JR conducted statistical analyses. MET wrote the manuscript and MDL and JR revised the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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