Mental Adaptation Peculiarities of Healthy Siblings in Families with Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders



The paper is focused on the peculiarities of psychic adaptation of siblings with a brother or sister with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The study was carried out with an experimental group consisting of 31 healthy siblings, each with a sibling with ASD. The age of healthy children and adolescents was from 6 to 17 years with an average age of 12 years. The age of siblings with ASD was 5 to 17 years, the average age was 9 years. The average age of parents is 40 years. In terms of the severity of the disease of children with ASD, two groups were identified: 81% (25) siblings with severe autism, and 19% (6) with moderate severity. The control group included 30 families with healthy siblings. It was found that among siblings having brother or sister with ASD, emotional instability was observed in the personality structure, which was manifested in high frustration, anxiety, affective rigidity, a tendency to self-incriminating behavior in a conflict situation, with a reliably high control over emotions, in comparison with children and adolescents of the control group. The level of psychological and socio-psychological adaptation in the experimental group was significantly lower than in the control group. It was shown that the relationship between siblings of the experimental group express ambivalence, which was due to the need for increased supervision of siblings with ASD, zealous relations to parents, as well as pessimistic assessments of the future of their siblings with ASD. It has been established that the siblings of the experimental group were less able to comply with generally accepted social standards

General Information

Keywords: siblings, autism spectrum disorder, mental adaptation, family relationship

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Guseva O.V., Mamaychuk I.I. Mental Adaptation Peculiarities of Healthy Siblings in Families with Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Vestnik of Saint Petersburg University. Psychology, 2017. Vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 169–179. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


Pechnikova L. S. Osobennosti materinskogo otnosheniia k detiam s rannim detskim autizmom. Avtoreferat dissertatsii kand. psikhol. nauk [Features of maternal attitude towards children with early childhood autism. Thesis of PhD]. Moscow, 1997. 144 p. (In Russian)

Information About the Authors

Olga V. Guseva, postgraduate student, Saint Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:

Irina I. Mamaychuk, Doctor of Psychology, Professor of the Department of Medical Psychology and Psychophysiology, St. Petersburg State University, St.Petersburg, Russia, e-mail:



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