Adjustment of chldren who have a sibling with Down syndrome: perspectives of mothers, fathers and children

Cuskelly, M. and Gunn, P. (2006) Adjustment of chldren who have a sibling with Down syndrome: perspectives of mothers, fathers and children. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 50 12: 917-925. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006.00922.x

Author Cuskelly, M.
Gunn, P.
Title Adjustment of chldren who have a sibling with Down syndrome: perspectives of mothers, fathers and children
Journal name Journal of Intellectual Disability Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0964-2633
Publication date 2006
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2006.00922.x
Volume 50
Issue 12
Start page 917
End page 925
Total pages 9
Editor A. J. Holland
Place of publication Oxford, UK
Publisher Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Collection year 2006
Language eng
Subject C1
380106 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
750307 Families
Abstract Background A number of methodological weaknesses have contributed to our relatively poor understanding of the impact on children of having a brother or sister with a disability. These include a focus on poor adjustment, using multidiagnostic groups, inadequate matching, and a failure to consider the perspectives of children and parents together. Method This study compared the adjustment of 53 siblings of a child with Down syndrome with a comparison group of siblings of children who were developing typically. Children were matched on a case-by-case basis for gender, age and position in family. Families were matched for family size and father's occupation. The age range of the target siblings was 7-14 years. Data were gathered from mothers, fathers and siblings. Results There were no significant differences between the groups on adjustment measures. These included parent perceptions of externalizing and internalizing behaviours, parent perceptions of sibling competence, and sibling perceptions of their own competence and self-worth. Associations between measures of adjustment and child reports of their contribution to household functioning depended on sex rather than group membership. There was an association between parental reports of externalizing behaviour and sibling relationships with the brother/sister closest in age. Conclusions Having a brother or sister with Down syndrome does not inevitably lead to poor adjustment. Examination of within-family processes would appear to be more useful in identifying children at risk than merely group membership.
Keyword Adjustment
Down Syndrome
Genetics & Heredity
Clinical Neurology
Education, Special
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2007 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Education Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 38 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 41 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 08:14:23 EST