Background: The present study focused on typically developing siblings (TDS) in emerging adulthood of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and sought insight into how gender may interact with positive and negative affects in this population. In addition, we aimed to explore the gender differences as a moderator in the link between personal resources (i.e., family cohesion and flexibility coping strategy) and positive and negative affects among such TDS. An understanding of gender differences in this population should prove relevant to the development of potential interventions. Method: A total of 116 emerging adult (age 18–29) TDS of younger siblings with ASD (the latter were under the age of 18 at the time of data collection), 80 females and 36 males, participated in the study. All participants completed self-report measures. Results: Female TDS reported higher negative affect than male TDS, while no differences emerged regarding positive affect. Female siblings reported higher family cohesion and higher flexibility in the forward-focused subscale of flexibility coping strategy, but not in its trauma-focused subscale, compared to male siblings. Additionally, gender moderates the links between family cohesion and positive affect but not negative affect. Gender also moderates the association between flexibility and negative affect, but not positive affect. Conclusions: This study highlights the gender differences among TDS in emerging adulthood of individuals with ASD in relation to negative affect, family cohesion, and flexibility coping strategy. Understanding the gender-specific internal and external experiences of TDS as interplaying with their resources, at the unique developmental stage of emerging adulthood, may afford to identify TDS in need and to suggest potential interventions.
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Emerging adulthood
- Gender differences
- Positive and negative affects