Self-injurious behavior and Prader-Willi syndrome: Behavioral forms and body locations

F. J. Symons, M. G. Butler, M. D. Sanders, I. D. Feurer, T. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


With few exceptions (e.g., Lesch-Nyhan syndrome), the specific nature of self-injury in relation to identified genetic syndromes associated with mental retardation is poorly understood. In the present study we surveyed the families of 62 persons with Prader-Willi syndrome to determine the prevalence, topographies, and specific body locations of self-injurious behavior. Self-injury was reported for 81% of the participants. Skin-picking was the most prevalent form, with the front of the legs and head being disproportionately targeted as preferred self-injury body sites. Individuals with the 15q11-q13 deletion injured significantly more body sites than did individuals with maternal disomy 15. Results are discussed in relation to previous self-injury body site findings and implications for the relevance of syndrome-specific behavioral phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-269
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal on Mental Retardation
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1999


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