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

Citation:

Yonat Rum, Shir Genzer, Noam Markovitch, Jennifer Jenkins, Anat Perry, and Ariel Knafo-Noam. Submitted. “Are there positive effects of having a sibling with special needs? Empathy and prosociality of twins of children with non-typical development.” Child Development, n/a.

Abstract:

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.