Predictors of Sense of Coherence in Typically Developing Adolescent Siblings of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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autism spectrum disorders, relationship networks, sense of coherence, sibling adjustment, sibling coping

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Background: Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be a stressor for family members yet there is little published research on the impact of having a child with ASD on their typically developing (TD) adolescent siblings. According to Antonovsky's salutogenic model, a strong sense of coherence leads to the view that the stressor is a manageable challenge rather than a burden and promotes healthier adaptation. This study examines the relationship between stress, TD sibling resources and the sense of coherence in TD siblings.

Method: This quantitative mail‐based study uses a survey methodology, analysing the responses of TD adolescent siblings (n = 96) of individuals with autism, Asperger's syndrome, or pervasive developmental disorder – not otherwise specified to several rating scales. Adolescent siblings, ages 11 to 18 years, completed the Adolescent Coping Orientation for Problem Experience (ACOPE), Network of Relationship Inventory – Social Provision Version (NRI‐SPV), Youth Self Report (YSR), and Sense of Coherence (SOC) instruments; parents completed the Child Autism Rating Scale – 2nd Edition (CARS‐2).

Results: The salutogenesis model was used to guide and inform this research. Findings suggested the following: (a) the stress of ASD severity and resource of adjustment are related in TD adolescent siblings; (b) TD sibling adjustment has a strong relationship with sense of coherence levels; and (c) a greater number of positive coping strategies buffer TD sibling coherence levels when ASD severity scores are high.

Conclusions: ASD severity and TD adolescent sibling resources influence sense of coherence in adolescent TD siblings of individuals with ASD.

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Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, v. 59, issue 1, p. 26-38