Siblings of children with developmental disabilities: Social competency, behavioral problems, and self-concept characteristics

Deborah Susan Fetter Nastasi


The purpose of the current study was to assess the social competencies, behavioral problems and self-concept characteristics of siblings of children with disabilities as perceived by parents, teachers, and siblings themselves. Participants included 48 school-aged children between 8 and 12 years of age, half with a sibling with a diagnosed disability and half with a sibling without a diagnosed disability. Analyses revealed a difference in teachers' perceptions of social competencies between the two groups. Further, siblings in the experimental group perceived themselves as having a lower self-concept and more behavioral problems than siblings in the control group. Parents and teachers in the two groups did not differ in their perception of the siblings' self-concept. Teachers perceive siblings of children with a disability as having more internalized behavior problems and being somewhat more withdrawn than siblings without an affected brother or sister. The implications of these results and suggestions for future studies are discussed.