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.
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.
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.
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.
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.