Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Epidemiology of self-injurious behaviour in adults with learning disabilities

  • Richard A. Collacott (a1), Sally-Ann Cooper (a2), David Branford (a3) and Catherine McGrother (a4)
Abstract
Background

There have been few epidemiological studies of the disabling and poorly understood disorder self-injurious behaviour among adults with learning disabilities.

Method

Interviews were undertaken with the carers of adults known to the Leicestershire Learning Disabilities Register (n=2277). The Disability Assessment Schedule was used and information was also collected on demographic characteristics, developmental and physical status.

Results

Self-injurious behaviour was present in 17.4% of the population. In 1.7% self-injurious behaviour occurred frequently and was severe. There was no gender difference between those with and without self-injurious behaviour. Both the chronological age and developmental quotient of individuals with self-injurious behaviour were lower than those of individuals without self-injurious behaviour. Autistic symptoms were more common among those with self-injurious behaviour. The association of self-injurious behaviour with a wide range of other maladaptive behaviours was highly significant. Logistic regression analysis retained age, developmental quotient, hearing status, immobility and number of autistic symptoms as explanatory variables for self-injurious behaviour.

Conclusions

Self-injurious behaviour is a prevalent and disabling disorder among adults with learning disabilities.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Sally-Ann Cooper, St Mary's Hospital, London Road, Kettering, Northants NN15 7PW
References
Hide All
Clarke, D. J. (1998) Psychopharmacology of severe self-injury associated with learning disabilities. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 389394.
Deb, S. (1998) Self-injurious behaviour as part of genetic syndromes. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 385388.
Gilberg, C. (1993) Autism and related behaviours. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research, 37, 343372.
Griffen, J. C., Williams, D., Stark, M. T., et al (1986) Self-injurious behaviour: a state-wide prevalence survey of the extent and circumstances. Applied Research in Mental Retardation, 7, 105116.
Halliday, S. & Mackrell, K. (1988) Psychological interventions in self-injurious behaviour. Working with people with a learning disability. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 395400.
Hillery, J. & Mulcahy, M. (1997) Self-injurious behaviour in persons with a mental handicap: an epidemiological study in an Irish population. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine, 14, 1265.
Holmes, N., Shah, A. & Wing, L. (1982) The Disability Assessment Schedule: A brief device for use with the mentally retarded. Psychological Medicine, 12, 879890.
Jacobson, J. W., Sutton, M. S. & Janicki, M. P. (1985) Demography and characteristics of aging and aged mentally retarded persons. In Aging and Developmental Disabilities, Issues and Approaches, (eds Janicki, M. P. & Wisniewski, H. M.), pp. 115141. Baltimore. MD: P. H. Brooks.
Oliver, C., Murphy, G. H. & Corbett, J. A. (1987) Self-injurious behaviour in people with mental handicap: a total population study. Journal of Mental Deficiency Research, 31, 147162.
Read, S. (1998) Self-injury and violence in people with severe learning disabilities. British Journal of Psychiatry, 172, 381384.
Reid, A. H., Ballinger, B. R. & Heather, B. B. (1978) Behavioural syndromes identified by cluster analysis in a sample of 100 severe and profoundly retarded adults. Psychological Medicine, 8, 399412.
Reid, A. H., & Ballinger, B. R. (1995) Behaviour symptoms among severely and profoundly mentally retarded patients. A 16–18-year follow-up study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 167, 452455.
Rojahn, J. (1986) Self-injurious and stereotypic behaviour of non-institutionalised mentally retarded people. Prevalence and classification. American Journal on Mental Deficiency, 91, 268276.
Schroeder, S. R., Schroeder, C. S., Smith, B., et al (1978) Prevalence of self-injurious behaviour in a large state facility for the retarded: a three-year follow-up study. Journal of Autism & Childhood Schizophrenia, 8, 261269.
Sigafoos, J., Elkins, J., Kerr, M., et al (1994) A survey of aggressive behaviour amongst a population of persons with intellectual disability in Queensland. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research, 348, 369381.
Smith, S., Branford, D., Collacott, R. A., et al (1996) Prevalence and cluster typology of maladaptive behaviours in a geographically defined population of adults with learning disabilities. British Journal of Psychiatry, 169, 219227.
Sparrow, S. S., Bella, D. A. & Cicchetti, P. V. C. (1984) A Revision of the Vineland Social Maturity Scale by E. A. Doll. Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service Inc.
Steffenburg, S. (1991) Neuropsychiatric assessment of children with autism: A population-based study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 33, 495511.
Wieseler, N. A., Henson, R. H. & Nord, G. (1995) Investigation of mortality and morbidity associated with severe self-injurious behaviour. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 100, 15.
Wing, L. (1981) Language, social and cognitive impairment in autism and severe mental retardation. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder, 11, 3144.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 14 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 105 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 2nd January 2018 - 14th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Epidemiology of self-injurious behaviour in adults with learning disabilities

  • Richard A. Collacott (a1), Sally-Ann Cooper (a2), David Branford (a3) and Catherine McGrother (a4)
Submit a response

eLetters

No eLetters have been published for this article.

×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *