Sibling of Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’s Knowledge and Perception on Core Symptoms and their Role in Clinical Intervention

Viana, C1., Lopes, R1., Joana, C2. & Cabral, P1

1CADIn Neurodesenvolvimento e Inclusão
2Instituto de Ciências da Saúde - Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Objectives: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder’s (ADHD) is one of the most common childhood disorders and continues throughout adolescence and adulthood. ADHD has a strong impact, not only on the individual but to close relatives. It is well-known that parents of ADHD children show higher stress level, difficulty regulating conflicts and showing affection. On the other hand, few studies aim to assess siblings of children with ADHD’s role in managing this disorder. Sibling relationship is one of the most important bonds for a child’s social development. Positive sibling relationships can predict lower levels of psychopathology and higher social skills, while negative relationships can increase behavioral disruptions. Considering chronic illness, when siblings understand diagnosis their levels of stress decrease as well as family integration. We aim to assess siblings’ knowledge of ADHD core symptoms and the impact on family wellbeing in order to better understand siblings’ role in ADHD intervention.


Methods: 20 siblings of ADHD diagnosed children (from CADIn center), between the ages of 12 and 18, were assessed using a Sibling Knowledge semi structured interview. A 15 question questionnaire was applied in order to assess (global) knowledge on ADHD.


Results: Siblings showed a good global knowledge about ADHD symptoms but fail to identify non motor symptoms on their ADHD siblings. Nevertheless, they identify covert symptoms, considered to be in close relationship with the disorder but were not previously reported by other family members or teachers.


Conclusions: Siblings of children with ADHD not only showed good knowledge about ADHD, but also add new important information, specifically related to emotional distress. Such findings suggest that siblings may have an important role in identifying specific symptoms and in clinical intervention.

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