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Persistence of self‐injury, aggression and property destruction in children and adults with tuberous sclerosis complex [2018]

Background
Individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) are at increased risk of developing self‐injurious behaviour. The persistence of this deleterious behaviour over years is reported in aetiologically heterogeneous samples to be between 60% and 80% but is unknown for TSC.

Method
In this study, we determined the 3‐year persistence of self‐injury in a sample (n = 52) of children (with and without ID) and adults (with ID) with TSC and examined characteristics associated with persistence.

Results
Findings for self‐injury were contrasted to those for aggression and property destruction to examine the specificity of results to this behaviour. Self‐injury was persistent in 84.6% of those with TSC who showed this behaviour, in contrast to 66.7% both for aggression and destruction. Persistent self‐injury was associated with poor self‐help skills, greater overactivity/impulsivity and more behavioural indicators of pain. These latter two characteristics were also associated with persistent aggression. No characteristics were associated with persistence of property destruction.

Conclusion
These findings suggest that self‐injurious behaviours in individuals with TSC, together with aggressive and destructive behaviours, are highly persistent and would benefit from targeted intervention. Poor adaptive skills, overactivity/impulsivity and painful health conditions may differentiate those at most risk for persistent self‐injury or aggression.

L. Wilde K. Wade K. Eden J. Moss P. J. de Vries C. Oliver

Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 08 February 2018

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