A Meta-Analysis on Adjustment Difficulties in Siblings of Children With and Without Autism Spectrum Disorder
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This meta-analytic study aimed to examine how the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in a child affects their sibling(s)’s social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment. Many studies have investigated how the presence of ASD in a child affects their sibling(s) in social, emotional, and behavioral adjustment, but their results are mixed. Moreover, the previous reviews did not address the personal characteristics that account for the differences in siblings’ adjustment. This review focused on examining the three primary domains of adjustment and the moderating factors of their adjustment by applying a new meta-analytic approach of structural equation modeling (SEM) to provide a reliable statistical synthesis of effect sizes observed in existing individual studies. A total of 120 effect sizes – standardized differences between siblings of children with ASD and siblings of typically developing (TD) children—were calculated from 24 studies. The results revealed that siblings of children with ASD experienced more adjustment difficulties than siblings of TD children in all three domains. Furthermore, this study found
that adjustment difficulties were more likely to be alleviated when siblings were older, female, and/or older than their sibling(s) with ASD. The findings provide important implications for support systems that can help siblings of children with ASD learn practical coping skills, develop a strong bond with family, and share their experiences with others in the community. Future research is needed to clarify other potential covariates that affect adjustment in siblings of children with ASD.
Keywords:siblings, autism, social adjustment, emotional adjustment, behavioral adjustment
Volume 38, Number: 1, Year 2023 of International Journal of Special Education