Correlates of self-injurious, aggressive and destructive behaviour in children under five who are at risk of developmental delay

J. L. Petty, Monique Bacarese-Hamilton, L. E. Davies, C. Oliver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Several behavioural correlates of self-injury, aggression and destructive behaviour have been identified in children and young adults with intellectual disabilities. This cross-sectional study aimed to further explore these correlates in very young children with developmental delay. Methods: Parents of 56 children (40 male) under the age of five years (mean age 2 years 10 months) completed a questionnaire about their child's behaviour and the presence of behavioural correlates, including repetitive, over-active or impulsive behaviour and more severe developmental delay. Results: Parents reported very high prevalence of self-injurious, aggressive and destructive behaviour: 51%, 64% and 51%, respectively. A binary logistic regression revealed that a higher score on a measure of overactive and impulsive behaviour significantly predicted the presence of destructive behaviour. A multiple linear regression revealed that both repetitive behaviour and number of health problems approached significance as independent predictors of severe self-injurious behaviour. Interpretation: Despite the very small sample, several factors emerged as potential predictors of self-injurious, aggressive and destructive behaviour. These findings support the need for further investigation in a larger sample. Confirmation in this age group could help guide the development of targeted early intervention for these behaviours by identifying behavioural risk markers. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-45
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
Early online date12 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Aggression
  • Children
  • Health
  • Hyperactivity
  • Intellectual disability
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Self-injury
  • age
  • aggression
  • article
  • automutilation
  • child
  • child behavior
  • child development
  • cross-sectional study
  • developmental disorder
  • disease severity
  • female
  • human
  • impulsiveness
  • intellectual impairment
  • logistic regression analysis
  • male
  • multiple linear regression analysis
  • preschool child
  • prevalence
  • questionnaire
  • school child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperkinesis
  • Impulsive Behavior
  • Male
  • Models, Psychological
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Questionnaires
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Stereotyped Behavior


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