The Relationship Between the Behavioral Symptomology of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Siblings' Psychological Functioning

Saturday, May 14, 2016: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Hall A (Baltimore Convention Center)
E. A. Roth1, G. M. Kuravackel2 and D. Wohlfarth1, (1)School of Professional Psychology, Spalding University, Louisville, KY, (2)Pediatrics, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY
Background:  Some research has demonstrated that siblings of children with ASD are not at an increased risk of developing internalizing and externalizing behaviors (Dempsey et al., 2012; Macks & Reeve, 2007). Other research has shown detrimental effects on this population’s behavior, psychological functioning, and quality of life (QOL) (Hastings, 2003; Ross & Cuskelly, 2006; Verte et al, 2003). Some researchers have found an increase in anxiety rates among this population (Orsmond & Seltzer, 2009; Pollard et al., 2013), while other researchers have not found similar results (Shivers et al., 2013). Previous research has assessed the relationship between the diagnosed child’s behavioral symptomology and the participating family and sibling’s psychological well-being (Hartley et al., 2012; Hastings, 2007; McStay et al., 2014; Freedman et al., 2012, Seltzer et al., 2009).

Objectives:  The purpose of this study is to further investigate the psychological development of siblings of children with ASD. Little research has been conducted on siblings of children with ASD, and of the research that exists, conflicting evidence is present as to the psychological well-being of siblings of children with ASD. Of specific interest in this study will be the presence of anxiety symptoms and QOL. The relationship among the diagnosed child’s behavioral symptomology and the participant’s anxiety level, QOL, and psychological functioning will be the primary focus of this study. Additionally, this study will look at the relationship between multiple demographic
 characteristics in comparison to the presence of anxiety symptoms, QOL and psychological functioning. It is important to understand the significant relationship between any demographical variables and the presence of anxiety, psychological health, and QOL. 

Methods:  This specific poster presentation will look at the relationship between the child with ASD’s behavioral symptomology (as measured by the Aberrant Behavior Checklist [ABC]) and the participant’s psychological functioning (as measured by the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist [CBCL]), anxiety (as measured by the Screen for Childhood Anxiety Related Emotional Disorders [SCARED]), and quality of life (as measured by the KINDL). Initial data collection has begun at a local Autism Center and will be completed, along with comprehensive analyses, prior to the IMFAR International Meeting. 

Results:  Multiple chi-square analyses will demonstrate relationships between the diagnosed child’s behavioral symptomology and the participant’s psychological functioning, specifically, anxiety and quality of life. Results are expected to continue to exhibit that the more serious a siblings’ behavioral symptoms are, the more likely the participant will have increased anxiety and lower psychological functioning and quality of life.

Conclusions:  The effects of a diagnosed child’s behavioral symptomology is expected to have a detrimental effect on the participating sibling’s psychological functioning, anxiety, and quality of life.