Social behavior problems in boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2006 Dec;27(6):470-6. doi: 10.1097/00004703-200612000-00003.


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a chronic, progressive pediatric disease that affects both muscle and brain. The objectives of the study were to examine parent reported behavior in children with DMD, investigate the influence of chronic illness, intellectual ability and etiology on behavior, and determine whether a specific behavioral profile is associated with DMD. Parental ratings of boys with DMD (n = 181) on the Child Behavior Checklist behavior scales were examined and compared to reported findings of children with other chronic illnesses, unaffected siblings of boys with DMD (n = 86), and children with cerebral palsy (CP) (n = 42). Increased ratings of general behavior problems were reported, and neither physical progression nor intellectual level contributed to behavioral ratings. Among the children with DMD, the Social Problem behavior scale had the greatest number of "clinically significant" ratings (34%). Between-group comparisons showed significantly more boys with DMD were rated as having social behavior problems than either the sibling or CP comparison groups. In addition to the increase in reported behavioral problems likely related to the effects of chronic illness, boys with DMD may be at heightened risk for specific social behavior problems. The specificity of the findings of the behavior profile in DMD may be partially due to the lack of dystrophin isoforms in the central nervous system, and not solely a reactive response to the illness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / diagnosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / epidemiology*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / psychology
  • Observer Variation
  • Parents
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Social Behavior Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Social Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires