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Easter Seals Releases Results From Sibling Study to Help Shed Light on Sibling Caregivers

Study Highlights Experiences of Sibling Caregivers and Provides Insight on the Services and Supports They Need

CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwire) -- 12/11/12 -- Easter Seals recently released its Siblings Study to call attention to the experiences of caregivers as well as the services and supports families need. The Study, conducted by Ipsos and made possible by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), aimed to better understand the implications of adults who have siblings with developmental disabilities and gauge perceptions of these sibling relationships compared to those of the general public, or adults who have siblings but without disabilities.

"The findings will help us shape our supports for families caring for someone with a disability and raise greater awareness about the challenges caregivers face," says Patricia Wright, Easter Seals National Director of Autism Services. "There are more than 65 million* caregivers in the United States and the Siblings Study will paint a better picture of their needs, especially of those who are caring for a sibling with a disability."

Siblings: Partners for Life
Sibling relationships are our longest-lasting relationships. Twenty-three percent of adults assume or will assume (nearly one third) the role of primary care provider for their adult brother or sister with a disability. While most respondents -- eight in ten, compared to the six in ten of general respondents -- convey their sibling with a disability had a positive and unique impact on their life, they admit it's not always easy. Future caregivers don't feel emotionally or financially prepared for the demands of this role.

Family Dynamics

Through the Siblings Study, Easter Seals found siblings who have a brother or sister with a disability are already involved in their sibling's day-to-day life more than the general public. That is, 80 percent have a close relationship with their sibling with a disability and this relationship enhances their life -- teaching them patience, understanding, compassion and providing perspective. Only sixty percent of the general public feels the same way.

However, the Study found that having a sibling with a developmental disability can negatively impact the cohesiveness of the family, parental relationships, interactions with extended family or quality of life. Three quarters of primary caregivers say that sometimes their relationship with their sibling puts a strain on their family life and that it's difficult to balance their own needs and those of their family with those of their sibling.

Looking to the future, six in ten sibling caregivers wish they knew more about how to plan for their sibling's care and finances and worry about the cost of caring for their sibling with a disability needs. Few are involved in a support group, although they would like to know more about them.

MassMutual Offers a Solution

With the help of Study sponsor and Easter Seals corporate partner MassMutual, Easter Seals can help these siblings take advantage of the various resources and support groups available to them -- supports that would likely help them better care for their sibling, while juggling their own needs and those of other family members.

MassMutual is committed to serving people living with disabilities through its exclusive SpecialCare(SM) program, an innovative solution that gives families with individuals with special needs access to information, specialists, and financial strategies that can help improve their quality of life.

Easter Seals will use these findings to raise awareness of and advocate for the life-long services and supports families and caregivers desperately need -- working to lessen disparities and bridge the gap for people living with developmental disabilities across the country.

To download the key findings and full report, visit View the infographic at


Ipsos conducted two polls on behalf of Easter Seals and the study's sponsor, MassMutual Financial Group:

  • A national survey among 1,392 adults age 18 and older who have an adult sibling. Ipsos conducted interviews between July 30 and August 1, 2012 via Ipsos' online omnibus. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire U.S. population of adults ages 18+ with an adult sibling been polled.
  • A national survey of 351 adults who have a sibling with a developmental disability, including autism, an intellectual disability or a physical disability. Respondents were drawn from a variety of groups and organizations, including Easter Seals, the Sibling Leadership Network, and the Sibling Support Project. Ipsos conducted interviews between July 26 and September 17, 2012. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 5.2 percentage points.
  • All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error.

About Easter Seals

Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For more than 90 years, we have been offering help and hope to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play. Visit

About MassMutual Financial Group
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term. MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.For more information, visit

About Ipsos
Ipsos is an independent market research company controlled and managed by research professionals. Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos has grown into a worldwide research group with a strong presence in all key markets. In October 2011 Ipsos completed the acquisition of Synovate. The combination forms the world's third largest market research company.

With offices in 84 countries, Ipsos delivers insightful expertise across six research specializations: advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, public affairs research, and survey management. Ipsos researchers assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media and they measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos has been listed on the Paris Stock Exchange since 1999 and generated global revenues of EUR 1,363 billion (1.897 billion USD) in 2011. Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

* More than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one. -- Caregiving in the United States; National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP; November 2009

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