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Theory of mind in children with and without autism spectrum disorder: Associations with the sibling constellation.

Autism. 2018 Apr;22(3):311-321

Authors: Matthews NL, Goldberg WA

Abstract
The two prior studies that have examined associations between the sibling constellation and theory of mind in autism spectrum disorder yielded discrepant findings. Thus, efforts to better understand the sibling-theory of mind link in autism spectrum disorder are necessary. This study examined a sample of prekindergarten- and kindergarten-aged (i.e. 4-6 years) typically developing children ( n = 39) and verbal children with autism spectrum disorder ( n = 61). Sibling presence, number of siblings, and having younger and older siblings were positively associated with theory of mind in typically developing children, but not in the full sample of children with autism spectrum disorder. However, in the subgroup of children with autism spectrum disorder without sibling recurrence, the presence of at least one older sibling was positively associated with theory of mind. Findings expand previous limited research on the sibling-theory of mind link in children with autism spectrum disorder by demonstrating a potential difference in the influence of the sibling constellation between children from simplex and multiplex families.

PMID: 29671641 [PubMed – in process]

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