Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Beverly White, Psy.D.

Second Advisor

Robert Di'Tomasso, PhD., ABPP

Third Advisor

Kathryn Soeder, Ed.D.


Seldom has the quality of the sibling relationship between children with disabilities and their siblings without disabilities been explored, particularly via firsthand accounts from the non-disabled sibling, rather than from parental observations and reports. Furthermore, research has shown mixed results regarding whether or not the siblings of children with disabilities have increased internalizing (anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder) or externalizing (attention deficits, hyperactivity, and oppositional) behaviors, psychosocial maladjustment, or impaired developmental stages, as opposed to siblings of children without disabilities. This study attempted to determine whether or not there was a correlation between the severity of autism disability; as measured by the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale-II and the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale-II Communication and Socialization domains, the quality of the sibling relationship, as measured by the Sibling Relationship Questionnaire, and perceptions of social and familial support in siblings of children with autism. Social support and familial support were measured by the Social Support Scale for Children. The only significant correlations identified were between the VABS-IJ Communication domain and SRQ Conflict domain. In addition, both VABS domains correlated with the SRQ Rivalry domain. A correlation between the non-autistic siblings' feelings of parental support and decreased communication abilities of the child with autism were significant.