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Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2015 Jun;169(2):182-7. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.31442. Epub 2015 May 15.

The developmental trajectory of disruptive behavior in Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome and Williams syndrome.


The aim of this study was to investigate the developmental trajectories of verbal aggression, physical aggression, and temper tantrums in four genetic syndrome groups. Participants were part of the Australian Child to Adult Development Study (ACAD), which collected information from a cohort of individuals with an intellectual disability at five time points over 18 years. Data were examined from a total of 248 people with one of the four following syndromes: Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, or Williams syndrome. Changes in behaviors were measured using validated items from the Developmental Behavior Checklist (DBC). The results indicate that, while verbal aggression shows no evidence of diminishing with age, physical aggression, and temper tantrums decline with age before 19 years for people with Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and William syndrome; and after 19 years for people with Prader-Willi syndrome. These findings offer a somewhat more optimistic outlook for people with an intellectual disability than has previously been suggested. Research is needed to investigate the mechanisms predisposing people with PWS to persistence of temper tantrums and physical aggression into adulthood.


Down syndrome; Fragile X syndrome; Prader-Willi syndrome; Williams syndrome; developmental trajectory

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