Characteristics of siblings of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Ann Marie Moore, Marquette University

Abstract

The description of siblings of children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a natural extension of research that has focused upon children with ADHD and other members of these children's families. Studies of the population of children with ADHD have concentrated upon the diagnosed child and his/her reactions to experimental treatments and descriptions of their performances on various measures. Familial studies have primarily focused upon genetics or mothers/performances on various measures (with fathers occasionally being included in such studies). The purpose of this study was to identify behavioral characteristics of siblings of children diagnosed with ADHD as measured by T. M. Achenbach's Child Behavior Checklist/4-18 (1991). Answers to 3 questions were sought: (1) were these siblings different than normal children? (2) did the length of time the ADHD-diagnosed child was in treatment impact upon the scores of their sibling? and, (3) did the medications status of the ADHD-diagnosed child account for any significant differences in scores for the siblings? Subjects were full-siblings between the ages of 6 and 18 years of ADHD-diagnosed children. Parents completed the checklist. Scores for Total Competence, the Internalizing scale, the Externalizing scale, and Total Behavior Problems were calculated. Results indicated that siblings score similarly to normal children for Total Competence and significantly better than normal children for the Internalizing scale, the Externalizing scale, and Total Behavior Problems. No significant differences were found among siblings based upon length of time the ADHD-diagnosed child was in treatment plus a control group. No significant differences were found between siblings based upon medication status for Total Competence and the Externalizing scale. A significant interaction effect was found for the Internalizing scale and Total Behavior Problems. This study concludes that siblings of children with ADHD do not demonstrate psychiatric symptomatology. In some circumstances, they present as over-achievers. The contribution of this study is the identification of clear strengths in these families, namely the siblings of the identified client. The accomplishment of this study is that clinicians may utilize this information in the development and implementation of methodologies for treating the family as a whole and build upon strengths.

Recommended Citation

Moore, Ann Marie, "Characteristics of siblings of children diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder" (1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9626939.
https://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9626939

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