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19-07-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 3/2016

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2016

Psychological Adjustment, Social Responsiveness and Parental Distress in an Italian Sample of Siblings of Children with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2016
Auteurs:
Stefania Di Biasi, Barbara Trimarco, Caterina D’Ardia, Sergio Melogno, Giovanni Meledandri, Gabriel Levi

Abstract

The psychosocial adjustment of siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a relatively recent field of study, but results in literature are often inconsistent, and studies specifically focused on samples of siblings of children with high-functioning ASD are very few. This paper analyzes the level of social impairment (index of broader autism phenotype), the risk of internalizing and externalizing problems (index of psychological adjustment) and the parenting distress in an Italian sample of siblings of children with high-functioning ASD (n = 26). The presence of risk factors (birth order, sex and number of siblings in the family) and the role of the siblings’ age are also explored. The data were collected through self-report instruments administered to parents. The results do not show higher average risk levels for psychosocial adjustment problems, even though a minority of the cases is at risk for social impairments (7.7 %), internalizing (23.1 %), externalizing (3.8 %) and total difficulties (11.5 %) and for distress in the parent–child system (15 %). Distress in the parent-sibling system seems to be modulated by the sibling’s features and to be higher when the sibling is older than the child with ASD. Additionally, a link between difficulties in psychological adjustment and broader autism phenotype is suggested.

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