Background: This study investigated psychosocial adjustment in siblings of children with autism compared to siblings of children with Down syndrome and siblings of normally developing children. In addition, the relationships between feelings of loneliness, social support and psychosocial adjustment, and the influence of gender and family size on psychological adjustment were examined.
Methods: Ninety siblings (30 per group) between the ages of 8 and 18 and one parent of each child participated in this study.
Results: Results indicated that siblings of children with autism, as well as comparison siblings, were well adjusted and reported low levels of loneliness. Siblings of children with autism also reported that they received high levels of social support in their lives.
Conclusions: Large family size appears to facilitate healthy adjustment in siblings of children with autism.