Rituals and compulsivity in Prader-Willi syndrome: profile and stability

J Intellect Disabil Res. 2003 Sep;47(Pt 6):428-38. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2788.2003.00515.x.


Background: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is characterized by an increased risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder. This study investigated the nature of compulsive-like behaviours in the PWS.

Method: Parents of 50 individuals with PWS (aged 5-18 years) and 50 typically developing 4-year-old children completed the Childhood Routines Inventory. This instrument measures compulsive-like behaviours in normative childhood.

Results: Many childhood compulsive behaviours are prevalent among older children and adolescents with PWS. Group differences were observed in that the PWS group, independent of age, gender and cognitive dysfunctions, exhibited more intense compulsive behaviours related to insistence on sameness in many daily activities and social contexts. Findings also revealed an age-independent low-prevalent pattern of PWS compulsivity, probably related to other features in the PWS symptomatology.

Conclusions: Compulsions of childhood do not subside with age in adolescents with PWS. The findings indicate that the differentiation between delayed childhood rituals and pathological manifestations of compulsive features is complex in PWS populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ceremonial Behavior*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Compulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / psychology*
  • Self Mutilation / diagnosis
  • Skin
  • Trichotillomania / psychology