Abstract

This study was designed to assess the effects of parent-child activities on the siblings and parents of children with autism. Existing research suggests that the experience of having an autistic child in the family is highly variable and may have negative outcomes for the typical sibling. The difficulty in predicting sibling outcome may be caused by the lack of a theoretical framework organizing the factors hypothetically affecting sibling coping abilities, therefore a stress and coping model of siblings of children with autism is provided. Currently there has been only limited information reporting successful intervention efforts for this population. The current study attempted to correct many of the limitations of previous sibling intervention studies by including a larger sample size, objective measures, a control group, and parental involvement in the intervention. Participants were twenty-five siblings of children with autism and their parents. This study used a between groups design to evaluate the worries of sibling of children with autism after a brief one-time intervention. The experimental group of parent-child pairs completed a workbook focused on autism-specific worries, while the control group played games together. The results indicate that the workbook activity increased parental accuracy in reporting their typical child's autism worries. Exploratory analyses also lend some support for the proposed model of sibling reaction to an autistic brother or sister.

Disciplines

Psychology

Included in

Psychology Commons

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