Academic journal article Journal of Family Studies

Dissertation Abstracts International Section A Humanities and Social Sciences: Exploration of Siblings' Explanatory Models of Autism

Academic journal article Journal of Family Studies

Dissertation Abstracts International Section A Humanities and Social Sciences: Exploration of Siblings' Explanatory Models of Autism

Article excerpt

Sibling relationships are one of the most important and possibly the longest relationships that an individual holds. When one sibling has a disability, the relationship between siblings is of particular importance as the typically developing sibling may be responsible for the financial and social well-being of their disabled sibling into adulthood. Understanding what factors leads to positive, neutral, and negative relationships is important. Autism is a disability that presents as particularly problematic in terms of sibling relationships. Ecocultural theory provides the most appropriate model to explore sibling relationships. This dissertation examines the explanatory models that typically developing siblings (aged 6-12) have of Autism through the lens of Ecocultural theory. The participants (n=35) in this study were interviewed using an interview designed to elicit their explanatory model of Autism, participated in a vignette task, and were observed interacting with their sibling with Autism. The parents of the participants were also interviewed using the Ecocultural Family Index. Results of this mixed methods study indicate that siblings who had strong explanatory models were more likely to report positive and frequent interactions with their sibling with Autism including caretaking, were more likely to have been observed interacting with their siblings, and were more likely to have reported frequent and open discussion of Autism with their parents. …

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