Impact of challenging behaviour on siblings of people with Autism [2018]

Despite being largely supportive of their sibling with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), some siblings without ASD also feel the effects of the disorder particularly in relation to challenging behaviour and lack of empathy. The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences adults who have a sibling with ASD and intellectual disability (ID) with challenging behaviour.

Interviews were conducted with 11 capacitous adult siblings of service users who have ASD and ID as well as a history of challenging behaviour. A modified version of the autism Parenting Stress Index was used to assess the impact on those siblings. thematic analysis was utilised to analyse their responses.

Four main themes emerged from the interviews, which highlighted that challenging behaviour can cause emotional losses and can impact upbringing and the sibling relationship. Despite the siblings making adjustments, they continue to have concerns for the future.

Chronic challenging behaviour can impact on siblings, and it is important to support entire families, and not exclusively parents.

Evan Yacoub, Michael Dowd, Leigh McCann, Lydia Burke
Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 2018