Are there positive effects of having a sibling with special needs? Empathy and prosociality of twins of children with non-typical development

Yonat Rum, Shir Genzer, Noam Markovitch, Jennifer Jenkins, Anat Perry, Ariel Knafo-Noam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined whether typically developing (TD) twins of non-TD children demonstrate enhanced empathy and prosociality. Of 778 Hebrew-speaking Israeli families who participated in a twin study, 63 were identified to have a non-TD child with a TD twin, and 404 as having both twins TD. TD twins of non-TD children (27% males) were compared to the rest of the cohort of TD children (46% males) on measures of empathy and prosociality. Participants were 11 years old. TD twins of non-TD children scored significantly higher than TD twins of TD children in a measure of cognitive empathy (d =.43). No differences were found in emotional empathy and prosociality. The specificity of the positive effect on cognitive empathy is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1128
Number of pages8
JournalChild Development
Volume93
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

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