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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998 Jun;152(6):537-9.

Do children with primary nocturnal enuresis have clinically significant behavior problems?

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Father Flanagan's Boys' Home, Boys Town, Neb, USA.



To determine if primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE) is accompanied by significant behavioral comorbidity.


A survey design using a standardized behavioral rating scale.


Behavioral pediatric clinics in the Midwest.


Subjects with PNE (n=92) were selected from 122 consecutive referrals for enuresis. Criteria included age 5 years or older, PNE status, and wetting frequency of at least once per week. The clinical sample without PNE (n=92) was randomly selected from 429 consecutive referrals to the same pediatric clinics, stratified for age and sex. The nonclinical sample (n=92) was randomly selected by strata from the standardization sample (N=614) of the behavioral checklist used in the study.


The Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI), a standardized parent report scale, was used to measure the degree of behavioral comorbidity. The ECBI yields 2 scores, Problem Intensity and Problem Number.


Results from 2 separate 3 (group) x 2 (sex) analyses of variance indicated a significant main effect for group on Problem Intensity and Problem Number (P<.001). For Problem Intensity, post hoc comparisons indicated the mean of the PNE sample was significantly higher than the mean of the nonclinical sample (P<.05), but the mean scores of the clinical sample were significantly higher than those of both the PNE and nonclinical samples (P<.05). For Problem Number, post hoc comparisons revealed the means of the PNE and nonclinical samples did not differ from each other (P>.05) but were lower than the mean of the clinical sample (P<.05).


Primary nocturnal enuresis does not present with significant behavioral comorbidity in most cases. The results suggest that, with the exception of an extraordinary clinical presentation, pediatricians should treat PNE as a common biobehavioral problem without a psychiatric component.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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