Differences Between Children with ASDs, Their Non-ASD Siblings, and the CBCL Normative Sample Based on CBCL Profile Scores
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A sparse amount of research exists comparing individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and their typically developing siblings regarding behaviors on a broadband measure, and little research has been conducted using social learning/cognitive theory in the area of ASDs. This study sought to determine whether having a sibling with an ASD puts a typically developing sibling more at risk of developing behavior problems than is the case with the normative population and to determine whether profiles from the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) differentiate between individuals with ASD, their typically developing siblings, and the CBCL normative sample. The participants were individuals with ASDs from simplex families and their siblings, ages 4-years through 17-years and 11-months, as well as the normative sample for the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), 1.5-5 and 6-18. Archival data were used from the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI) database. Multiple t-tests with an alpha of .001 (reduced to lessen the chance of Type I error) concluded that the sibling group was not more impaired than the normative population, but the ASD group had significantly higher scores than the normative CBCL sample. MANCOVAs conducted concluded that the ASD group had significantly higher CBCL profiles than the sibling group when controlling for age and adaptive behavior as a proxy for IQ. More specifically, statistical significance was achieved when examining the group differences between the ASD and sibling groups on CBCL 1.5-5 on scales of Total Problems Anxious-Depressed, Withdrawn, Sleep Problems, Attention Problems, Aggressive Behavior, and Pervasive Developmental Problems (F7, 721= 23.51, p < .001) and Internalizing and Externalizing scales (F2, 732= 87.635, p < .001). Additionally, statistical significance was reached when examining group differences between the ASD and sibling groups on CBCL 6-18 on scales of Anxious-Depressed, Withdrawn, Social Problems, Thought Problems, Attention Problems, Aggressive Behavior, and Total Problems (F7, 3034= 681.900, p < .001) and Internalizing and Externalizing scales (F2, 3046= 130.718, p < .001). In applying the social learning/cognition theory, the typically developing siblings may have learned to inhibit negative behaviors from observing their sibling with ASD exhibiting maladaptive behaviors and the consequences that follow.