Spectrum of cognitive, behavioural and emotional problems in children and young adults with Down syndrome

  • R. Nicham
  • R. Weitzdörfer
  • E. Hauser
  • M. Freidl
  • M. Schubert
  • E. Wurst
  • G. Lubec
  • R. Seidl
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission Supplement 67 book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 67)


In comparison to most other groups with intellectual disability individuals with Down syndrome are at lower risk for significant psychopathology, although relative to their typically developing peers they have higher rates of behavioural and emotional problems. A total of 43 Down syndrome patients (21 females and 22 males), who ranged in age from 5.33 to 30.58 years, were examined for the presence of age-related changes in the spectrum of externalizing and internalizing problems. Intelligence tests included Hamburg-Wechsler-Intelligenz Test für Kinder III (HAWIK-III), HamburgWechsler-Intelligenz Test für Erwachsene (HAWIE-R) and KaufmanAssessment-Battery for Children, German Version (K-ABC). Behavioural and emotional problems were assessed by the the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire for Parents, German Version (SDQ) and the Clinical Assessment Scale for Child and Adolescent Psychopathology (CASCAP). IQ was significantly inversly related to the age of patients. Externalizing behaviours (dominant, opposing/refusing, impulsiveness, inattention and increased motor activity) were significantly higher in the 5–10 years old group, whereas internalizing behaviours (shy/insecure, low selfconfidence, decreased motor activity) where more prevalent in adolescents and adults (10–30 years). Possible relationships between this age-related changes and increased risks of later-onset psychopathology (depression and dementia) are discussed.


Down Syndrome Intellectual Disability Emotional Problem Maladaptive Behaviour Down Syndrome Patient 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Nicham
    • 1
  • R. Weitzdörfer
    • 1
  • E. Hauser
    • 1
  • M. Freidl
    • 1
  • M. Schubert
    • 1
  • E. Wurst
    • 1
  • G. Lubec
    • 1
  • R. Seidl
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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