Sibling relationships in adults who have siblings with or without intellectual disabilities

Mairéad A. Doody, Richard P. Hastings, Sarah O'Neill, Ian M. Grey

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49 Citations (Scopus)


There is relatively little research on the relationships between adults with intellectual disability and their siblings, despite the potential importance of these relationships for either individual's psychological well-being and future care roles that might be adopted by adult siblings. In the present study, sibling relationships of adults with adult siblings with (N = 63) and without (N = 123) intellectual disability were explored. Contact, warmth, conflict, and rivalry were measured using questionnaires available as an on-line survey. Expressed emotion was measured using the Five Minute Speech Sample over the telephone to establish an independently coded measure of criticism from the participant towards their sibling. Overall, there were few group differences in contact and sibling relationship. There was less telephone contact in the intellectual disability group, and less reported warmth in the relationship with siblings with intellectual disability although this was mainly associated with severe/profound intellectual disability. Exploratory analyses were conducted of the correlates of sibling relationships in both the intellectual disability and control groups. These analyses revealed a small number of different associations especially for conflict, which was lower when either the participant or sibling was younger in the control group but associated with relative age in the intellectual disability group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-231
Number of pages8
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adults
  • Families
  • Intellectual disability
  • Sibling relationship
  • Siblings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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