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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


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