Uniform TitleSiblings of individuals with autism: perceptions of the sibling experience, psychological functioning, and the developmental tasks of young adulthood
NameMartins, Megan Patricia (author), Harris, Sandra (chair), Wagner, George (internal member), Weiss, Mary Jane (internal member), Leslie, Alan (internal member), Charlop-Christy, Marjorie (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
Brothers and sisters of people with disabilities,
Autistic children--Family relationships
DescriptionPrevious research has suggested siblings of individuals with autism are more likely to have adjustment problems during childhood than are other youngsters and is important to explore whether adult siblings are at increased risk for similar problems. The present study asked 25 young adult siblings of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD siblings) and 25 control siblings of individuals without a chronic disability or illness to complete measures relevant to the overall functioning of a young adult. These included assessments of family functioning (quality of attachment to parents and psychological separation from parents), career development (both confidence in and satisfaction with career decisions), and evidence of psychological distress (i.e., symptoms of anxiety and depression). Respondents were also asked about their perceptions of the impact of their siblings on their family during childhood and at the present time. Overall, the findings in the present study supported the hypothesis that ASD siblings would differ from control siblings particularly in the areas of family functioning, career goals, and perceptions of the impact of their sibling on their experiences with their family. Specifically, ASD siblings were more likely to report a less positive attachment to their parents, more likely to indicate their sibling impacted their development and career aspirations, more likely to report the desire to pursue a service career, and more likely to report negative childhood experiences due to their sibling. No differences between sibling groups were found on measures of psychological distress or separation from parents. The implications of the present study and recommendations and directions for future research on adult siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorders are also discussed.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 52-56).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.