Behavioral functioning in cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome: Risk factors and impact on parenting experience

Elizabeth I. Pierpont, Melinda Wolford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The present study is an investigation of behavioral functioning in children with cardiofaciocutaneous syndrome (CFC). CFC is a rare single-gene disorder associated with cardiac disease, characteristic skin and facial features, intellectual disability, and neurological complications such as seizures and structural brain anomalies. Emotional and behavioral features of CFC have not been systematically investigated. We aimed to identify key variables that contribute to psychopathology during childhood and adolescence, and to examine the impact of challenging behaviors on the caregiving experience. Parents of 34 children and adolescents with CFC completed standardized broadband measures of child emotional and behavioral functioning, as well as measures of sensory modulation, functional communication, and caregiver stress. Results indicate that children with CFC syndrome are at heightened risk for psychopathology, with attention problems, social difficulties, and unusual behaviors (e.g., obsessive thoughts, strange behaviors, repetitive acts) found to be especially prevalent. Behavioral challenges in children with CFC syndrome were significantly associated with a history of obstetric complications and with problems modulating sensory information. With regard to the impact of child neurocognitive and behavioral issues on the caregiving experience, parent self-reported stress was significantly higher among parents of children who engaged in more problem behaviors, and lower among parents whose children could communicate effectively with others. Results of this study suggest avenues to help families cope with CFC-related stressors and enhance overall functioning. In particular, this study highlights the need for educational and treatment interventions aimed at addressing sensory needs, increasing functional communication, and identifying and managing challenging behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1974-1988
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • RASopathies
  • attention
  • behavior
  • cardiofaciocutanous syndrome
  • communication
  • parenting stress
  • sensory modulation
  • sensory processing
  • social


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