Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often has a significant impact on all family members, including parents and siblings of the person who suffers the disorder. This case–control study explores potential factors that help explain the impact of having an older sibling with ASD on several developmental domains, and to test whether these factors could explain their satisfaction on family quality of life (FQoL).
A total of 78 unaffected siblings of children with ASD (Sibs-ASD) and siblings of children with typical development (Sibs-TD) from 6 to 12 years old were evaluated.
Our analyses show significant differences between groups in motor skills, severity of autistic traits, satisfaction on FQoL, and social support (ps < .05). Moreover, social support acts as positive factor protecting from the negative effect of having a sibling with ASD on satisfaction of FQoL (R2 = .32).
Our findings highlight the variability in the developmental abilities of the unaffected school-age children with familiar risk factors and emphasize the need for supervising development of all Sibs-ASD over different time points. Social support may be a critical aspect to consider in interventions for improving the satisfaction on FQoL.