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Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2010 Oct;80(4):473-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.2010.01050.x.

Factors associated with positive adjustment in siblings of children with severe emotional disturbance: the role of family resources and community life.

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University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 28223, USA.


This study builds on the scant research involving siblings of children with severe emotional disturbances (SED) and examines: associations between adversity experiences and adjustment among 5- to 10-year-old siblings, and relations among family resources, community life, and sibling adjustment. Caregivers from 100 families completed standardized indicators of sibling adjustment and scales reflecting multiple contextual variables. Results document negative associations between stress exposure and sibling adjustment. Regression models also indicate positive associations between the caregiver-child relationship and broader family resources on sibling behavioral and emotional strengths, even after accounting for adversity experiences; adversity exposure was the prime correlate in regression models involving sibling oppositional behavior. Analyses also suggest that strain related to parenting a child with SED is associated with sibling adjustment. This work documents the needs of these siblings and their family systems and highlights the relevance of not only core proximal influences (e.g., child-caregiver relationship) but also elements of their broader contexts. Implications and recommendations are described, including the need to support plans of care that involve services, supports, or preventive strategies for these siblings.

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