• Anxiety and depression symptomatology in adult siblings of disabled individuals: The role of perceived parenting, attachment, personality traits and disability types

      Murray, Lindsay; Scott, David; O'Neill, Linda P. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester)University of Chester, 2011-11)
      Objectives: (1) To ascertain whether adult siblings of disabled individuals are more prone to anxiety and depression symptomatology than a closely matched control group. (2) To examine the contribution that perceived parenting styles, attachment styles and personality traits play in the long-term affective outcome of these siblings. (3) To consider if the type of disability has a role in sibling affective outcome. Design: A cross-sectional, closely matched study design, with data collected through self-report. One-way ANOVAs, correlational analyses, moderation and mediation analyses were applied. Participants: Adult siblings of disabled individuals (SDI), were initially contacted through support groups, such as SIBS, the Down’s Syndrome Association, the National Autistic Society and the Prader-Willi Association (UK) and responded to a postal or e-mailed questionnaire; 150 participants returned the completed questionnaire. The 150 control group participants were closely matched on the variables of gender, age, marital status and when possible socio-economic status, in order to compare like with like. This group was contacted through friends, family, work colleagues and local businesses. Measures: All the participants completed a range of demographic questions; the SDI were additionally asked questions regarding their disabled sibling. The established measures used included the Hospital and Anxiety Depression Scale (Zigmond & Snaith, 1983), Experiences in Close Relationships (Brennan, Clark & Shaver, 1998), an adapted measure of the Descriptions of Parental Caregiving Style (DPCS, Hazan & Shaver, 1986) and the International Personality Item Pool (Goldberg, 1999). Results: The majority of SDI reported no increased anxiety or depression symptomatology, however, when compared the SDI did report higher levels of anxiety and depression symptomatology than the control group; also higher levels of perceived inconsistent mothering, attachment-related anxiety and neuroticism, with lower levels of extraversion than the control group. These variables mediated the path between having a disabled sibling and anxiety and depression, with the notable exception of perceived inconsistent mothering. This variable showed no association with any of the established measures for the SDI group; however, there were associations consistent with previous research for the control group. There was no moderation effect on anxiety or depression between the demographic variables and SDI. The autistic spectrum disorder siblings reported similar levels of anxiety symptomatology to Prader-Willi siblings but higher than Down’s syndrome siblings and the control group and they also reported the highest levels of depression symptomatology. Conclusions: The adult SDI’s higher propensity towards anxiety and depression is a cause for concern; particularly when explained through heightened levels of attachment-related anxiety, high levels of neuroticism and low levels of extraversion. The lack of association with perceived inconsistent mothering requires further investigation. These results can help guide interventions or clinical therapies; the emotional well-being of SDI is paramount as they will possibly be among the first group to assume responsibility for their disabled siblings.
    • Anxiety and Depression Symptomatology in Adult Siblings of Individuals with Different Developmental Disability Diagnoses

      O'Neill, Linda P.; Murray, Lindsay; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-01-25)
      Factors predicting the emotional well-being of adult siblings of those with developmental disability (DD) remain under-researched. In this study adult siblings of individuals with Down’s syndrome, autism, Prader-Willi syndrome and those with DD but with unknown aetiology were compared with each other and a closely-matched control group to ascertain if sibling disability type made a difference to anxiety and/or depression levels. Also considered was the interactive effect of gender, age, parental and sibling educational attainment levels, socio-economic status and birth order on anxiety and depression outcomes. With the exception of siblings of those with Down’s syndrome, adult siblings of those with ASD, PWS and DUA reported significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression than the control group. There were some predictive effects for anxiety and depression of the demographic variables but none common to all disability types and no moderating effects of demographic factors were found. Consequently other solutions must be found as to why this important group of people have elevated rates of anxiety and depression in comparison to the general population.
    • Neuroticism and extraversion mediate the relationship between having a sibling with developmental disabilities and anxiety and depression symptoms

      Murray, Lindsay; O'Neill, Linda P.; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-09-17)
      Background Children growing up with a sibling with disabilities report higher levels of depression and anxiety symptoms as adults. Here, we examined whether personality characteristics also play a part in mediating this relationship. Method We tested for differences in personality traits between 132 individuals who have a sibling with developmental disabilities and 132 closely matched comparisons. Results Differences in Big Five factors of personality were demonstrated across the disability groups and between the disability groups and the comparisons, especially in Extraversion, Neuroticism and Openness. Individuals growing up alongside a sibling with developmental disabilities have a higher tendency to experience anxiety and depression symptoms, and this research is the first demonstration that personality traits mediate this relationship. Specifically, Neuroticism is a strong mediator of anxiety while both Neuroticism and Extraversion contribute mediating effects toward the development of depression. Limitations Our study made use of self-report methodology which, although having recognized limitations, is more reliable than parental reports. Given the cross-sectional nature of our design, we were not able to examine pre-existing developmental factors that may have influenced the participant’s propensity to particular personality traits and affective disorders. However, we obtained a large sample and closely matched participants to examine differences between those with a sibling with disabilities and those without. Conclusions As such, differences in personality traits have important implications for the understanding and treatment of siblings presenting with anxiety and depression symptoms. We recommend that intervention should target those high in Neuroticism among individuals who have a sibling with disabilities, and that more social support is put in place for siblings to mitigate their tendency towards introversion and buffer them against psychological maladjustment.