How are healthy children’s development, education, and employment outcomes affected by a sibling’s chronic or severe health problems? We know that the chronic health problems and disabilities of one sibling will likely impact the relationship between siblings and influence the healthy sibling’s development, but little is known about how, under what circumstances, and to what extent the healthy sibling’s educational employment and family formation outcomes will be affected. This study will track the healthy siblings’ outcomes, including test score performance, years of schooling, labor market outcomes, and transitions to independence. Conditions under examination include developmental disabilities, mental illness, learning disabilities, childhood ADHD, and adolescent depression. Additionally, investigators will examine the impact of the death of a sibling on the surviving siblings, as well as the influence of parental reactions to children’s health impairments. The investigators will use data from several national surveys with information on more than 5,000 youth ranging in age from 0 to 25. Some participants were tracked for more than 50 years. Preliminary findings reveal significant decreases in educational attainment for healthy siblings—these decreases vary by sex, sibling health condition, and relative age. For siblings of children with externalizing problems, the investigators noticed significant reductions in school performance and educational attainment. Siblings of children with depression or developmental disabilities suffered reductions of smaller magnitude. Healthy siblings’ educational attainments and family formation patterns are also negatively affected by the death of a sibling,and the affect varies by the cause and timing of the sibling death and by the sex of the surviving sibling.
How are healthy children’s development, education, and employment outcomes affected by a sibling’s chronic or severe health problems?