The emotional and behavioural functioning of siblings of children with special health care needs across childhood

Rebecca Giallo, Rachel Roberts, Eric Emerson, Catherine Wood, Susana Gavidia-Payne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examined the emotional and behavioural functioning of siblings of children with special health care needs identified in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC). Of the 106 siblings identified, 15-52% had emotional and behavioural difficulties in the at-risk or clinical range on the parent-reported Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) subscales when aged 4-5 (wave 1), 6-7 (wave 2), 8-9 (wave 3) and 10-11 years (wave 4). After controlling for differences in socio-economic position, siblings had significantly higher difficulties on all subscales than their peers without a brother or sister with a special health care need at most time points. Latent growth modelling revealed little change in emotional and behavioural symptoms for siblings across childhood, while behavioural symptoms decreased for their peers. These findings suggest that some siblings are at heightened risk of emotional and behavioural difficulties across childhood, underscoring the importance of assessing and promoting the wellbeing of all family members when providing services to children with special health care needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-825
Number of pages12
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Childhood
  • Emotional and behavioural difficulties
  • Mental health
  • Siblings
  • Special health care needs

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