Internalizing and Externalizing Problems, Empathy Quotient, and Systemizing Quotient in 4 to 11 Years-Old Siblings of Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder Compared to Control Group
AbstractObjective: This study was conducted to recognize the problems of living with a sibling with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to improve their quality of life. Method: A total of 30 participants were selected among the 4-to11- year-old siblings of children who had referred to Tehran Psychiatric Institute due to autism spectrum disorder. For the control group, 30 children aged 4 to11years old who were the siblings of patients with chronic diseases referring to Pediatric Clinic of Rasoul-e Akram (PBUH) hospital were selected. Gilliam Autism Rating Scale-Second Edition (GARS-2) was filled out for patients and siblings participating in the study and Child Behavior Checklist was completed by their parents.Results: The mean age of the patients in this study was 4.46 ± 9.66 years (range: 1.5-22 years), and the mean age in the healthy children was 2.54 ± 8.18 years (range: 4-11 years). The mean scores of anxiety/depression, withdrawn/depressed, somatic complaints, social problems, thought problems, attention problems, and rule-breaking behavior subscale of CBCL (Child Behavior Checklist) were not significantly different between groups. Aggressive behavior was the only subscale that showed such difference (p = 0.008). Externalizing problems in children who had siblings with ASD was higher than children who had siblings with physical illness. In a group in which a sibling had ASD, sisters were more anxious/ depressed than brothers.Conclusion: Due to various psychological and social problems that siblings of children with ASD experience throughout their life, studying their psychological problems to improve their quality of life seems to be of paramount importance.
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