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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2015 Feb;46(1):130-49. doi: 10.1007/s10578-014-0459-1.

The prevalence of psychopathology in siblings of children with mental health problems: a 20-year systematic review.

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School of Psychology, University of Adelaide, North Tce, Adelaide, SA, 5005, Australia,


While the importance of looking at the entire family system in the context of child and adolescent mental health is well recognised, siblings of children with mental health problems (MHPs) are often overlooked. The existing literature on the mental health of these siblings needs to be reviewed. A systematic search located publications from 1990 to 2011 in four electronic databases. Thirty-nine relevant studies reported data on the prevalence of psychopathology in siblings of target children with MHPs. Siblings of target children had higher rates of at least one type of psychopathology than comparison children. Risk of psychopathology varied across the type of MHP in the target child. Other covariates included sibling age and gender and parental psychopathology. Significant variations and limitations in methodology were found in the existing literature. Methodological guidelines for future studies are outlined. Implications for clinicians, parents, and for future research are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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