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Nursing Research:
doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000046
Feature Articles

Sibling Cooperative and Externalizing Behaviors in Families Raising Children With Disabilities

Platt, Christine RN, BSN; Roper, Susanne Olsen PhD; Mandleco, Barbara RN, PhD, ANEF; Freeborn, Donna PhD, FNP-BC, CNM

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Background: Raising a child with a disability (CWD) in the home is increasing across the globe. Because of caregiver burden and the complexity of care, there is growing concern for typically developing sibling (TDS) outcomes.

Objective: The aim of the study was to examine whether caregiver burden, parenting style, and sibling relationships in families raising a CWD are associated with cooperative and externalizing behaviors in TDS.

Methods: This correlational study included 189 families raising both a CWD and a TDS. Multilevel modeling was used to identify which variables were most predictive of TDS outcomes and if there were parent gender effects.

Results: Authoritative parenting was positively associated with cooperative behaviors. Authoritarian parenting was positively associated with externalizing behaviors. Multilevel modeling revealed caregiver burden was a significant predictor of sibling behaviors in the first model. When parenting style was added as a predictor, it was also significant. When sibling relationships were added as predictors, they were significant predictors for both cooperative and externalizing TDS behaviors; however, caregiver burden was no longer significant. Authoritarian parenting significantly predicted externalizing behaviors, and authoritative parenting was significantly related to cooperative behaviors.

Discussion: In families raising a CWD, positive sibling relationships may help negate the effects of caregiver burden and are more predictive of TDS outcomes than some parenting practices.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


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