Socioeconomic status and psychological function in children with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome: implications for genetic counseling

J Genet Couns. 2010 Oct;19(5):535-44. doi: 10.1007/s10897-010-9309-x. Epub 2010 Aug 3.


The purpose of this study is to examine the association between parental socio-economic status (SES) and childhood neurocognition and behavior in children with chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). Although undoubtedly, the deletion of genes in the 22q11.2 interval is primarily responsible for the psychological manifestations, little is known about the role of the environment in either mitigating or contributing to these problems. We examined the association of parental socio-economic status (SES) with cognition and behavior in children with 22q11DS (n = 65) and matched healthy control subjects (n = 52), since SES is a component of family resources. We found that in children with 22q11DS, higher SES correlated with better overall functioning (p < .01) and social skills (p < .01), and less frequent oppositional defiant behavior (p < .001). These findings were in contrast to the control subjects in whom SES correlated with cognition and achievement, but not behavior. Our results indicate that environmental factors influence the behavioral phenotype in children with 22q11DS, providing a framework for developing appropriate interventions. As such, genetic counseling for families with 22q11DS may include consideration of family resources and inclusion of other health professionals, such as social workers, to explore with the family available social supports and resources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / genetics
  • Chromosome Deletion*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 22*
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Humans
  • Social Class*