Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp 4090–4102 | Cite as

Adult Siblings Who Have a Brother or Sister with Autism: Between-Family and Within-Family Variations in Sibling Relationships

  • Gael I. OrsmondEmail author
  • Daniel Fulford
Original Paper


Prior research on the sibling relationship in the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has included only one sibling per family. We used multi-level modeling to examine aspects of the sibling relationship in 207 adults who have a brother or sister with ASD from 125 families, investigating variability in sibling relationship quality and pessimism within and between families. We found that there was greater variability in aspects of the sibling relationship with the brother or sister with ASD within families than between families. Sibling individual-level factors were associated with positive affect in the sibling relationship, while family-level factors were associated with the sibling’s pessimism about their brother or sister’s future. The findings illustrate the unique experiences of siblings within families.


Adulthood Sibling relationship Autism spectrum disorder 



This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (R01 AG08768) to Marsha Mailick and support from the Waisman Center Core Grant (U54 HD090256). The authors are appreciative of the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Mailick.

Author Contributions

GO conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination and drafted the manuscript; DF performed the statistical analysis and participated in the interpretation of the data; All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Occupational TherapyBoston UniversityBostonUSA

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