Date of Award

Summer 8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Chair

Dr. Tammy Barry

Committee Chair Department

Psychology

Committee Member 2

Dr. Christopher Barry

Committee Member 2 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 3

Dr. Sara Jordan

Committee Member 3 Department

Psychology

Committee Member 4

Dr. Gilbert Parra

Committee Member 4 Department

Psychology

Abstract

Available literature examining outcomes of typically-developing siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remains inconclusive and unclear. Studies have shown that some typically-developing children may experience maladjustment related to having a sibling with ASD, whereas others may show no differences or may actually experience developmental benefits. Increasing evidence suggests that genetic and environmental moderators and mediators likely influence the nature of the adjustment in typically-developing siblings. Therefore, the current study examined a double moderated mediation model involving problem areas in children with ASD and typically-developing siblings, parental stress, and perceptions of social support. Via an internet survey site, data were collected from parents and adolescent siblings from families with a child with ASD. The goal of this study was to identify potential points of intervention and risk factors for sibling maladjustment and overall family functioning. The tested hypotheses were generally unsupported, and the predicted conditional indirect effects were not significant, in part due to a lack of support for simple mediation. However, a number of noteworthy main effects emerged, and these results are consistent with the mixed findings of the current literature base. Limitations of the current study and the need for future research are discussed.

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