Self-injurious behavior and Prader-Willi syndrome: behavioral forms and body locations

Am J Ment Retard. 1999 May;104(3):260-9. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(1999)104<0260:SBAPSB>2.0.CO;2.


With few exceptions (e.g., Lesch-Nyhan syndrome), the specific nature of self-injury in relation to identified genetic syndromes associated with mental retardation is poorly understood. In the present study we surveyed the families of 62 persons with Prader-Willi syndrome to determine the prevalence, topographies, and specific body locations of self-injurious behavior. Self-injury was reported for 81% of the participants. Skin-picking was the most prevalent form, with the front of the legs and head being disproportionately targeted as preferred self-injury body sites. Individuals with the 15q11-q13 deletion injured significantly more body sites than did individuals with maternal disomy 15. Results are discussed in relation to previous self-injury body site findings and implications for the relevance of syndrome-specific behavioral phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arm Injuries / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / etiology
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / etiology
  • Male
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / psychology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / classification*