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04-02-2019 | Uitgave 8/2019 Open Access

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 8/2019

A Population-Based Study of the Behavioral and Emotional Adjustment of Older Siblings of Children with and without Intellectual Disability

Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology > Uitgave 8/2019
Nikita K. Hayden, Richard P. Hastings, Vasiliki Totsika, Emma Langley
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This is the first study on the behavioral and emotional adjustment of siblings of children with intellectual disabilities (ID) to use a population-based sample, from the third wave of the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS); a UK longitudinal birth cohort study. We examined differences between nearest-in-age older siblings (age 5–15) of MCS children (likely mainly with mild to moderate ID) identified with ID (n = 257 siblings) or not (n = 7246 siblings). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) measured all children’s adjustment. For SDQ total problems, 13.9% of siblings of children with ID and 8.9% of siblings of children without had elevated scores (OR 1.65; 95% CI 1.04, 2.62; p = 0.031). Similar group differences were found for SDQ peer and conduct problems. In logistic regression models, variables consistently associated with older sibling adjustment were: adjustment of the MCS cohort child, older sibling being male, family socio-economic position, primary carer psychological distress, and being from a single parent household. The ID grouping variable was no longer associated with adjustment for all SDQ domains, except siblings of children with ID were less likely to be identified as hyperactive (OR 0.30; 95% CI 0.10, 0.87; p = 0.027). Some older siblings of children with ID may be at additional risk for behavioral and emotional problems. Group differences were related mainly to social and family contextual factors. Future longitudinal research should address developmental pathways by which children with ID may affect sibling adjustment.

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