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Assessment of emotions and behaviour by the Developmental Behaviour Checklist in young people with neurodevelopmental CNVs

Cunningham, Adam C., Hall, Jeremy, Owen, Michael and van den Bree, Marianne B. M. 2022. Assessment of emotions and behaviour by the Developmental Behaviour Checklist in young people with neurodevelopmental CNVs. Psychological Medicine 52 (3) , pp. 574-586. 10.1017/S0033291720002330

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ackground A number of genomic conditions caused by copy number variants (CNVs) are associated with a high risk of neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders (ND-CNVs). Although these patients also tend to have cognitive impairments, few studies have investigated the range of emotion and behaviour problems in young people with ND-CNVs using measures that are suitable for those with learning difficulties. Methods A total of 322 young people with 13 ND-CNVs across eight loci (mean age: 9.79 years, range: 6.02–17.91, 66.5% male) took part in the study. Primary carers completed the Developmental Behaviour Checklist (DBC). Results Of the total, 69% of individuals with an ND-CNV screened positive for clinically significant difficulties. Young people from families with higher incomes (OR = 0.71, CI = 0.55–0.91, p = .008) were less likely to screen positive. The rate of difficulties differed depending on ND-CNV genotype (χ2 = 39.99, p < 0.001), with the lowest rate in young people with 22q11.2 deletion (45.7%) and the highest in those with 1q21.1 deletion (93.8%). Specific patterns of strengths and weaknesses were found for different ND-CNV genotypes. However, ND-CNV genotype explained no more than 9–16% of the variance, depending on DBC subdomain. Conclusions Emotion and behaviour problems are common in young people with ND-CNVs. The ND-CNV specific patterns we find can provide a basis for more tailored support. More research is needed to better understand the variation in emotion and behaviour problems not accounted for by genotype.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 0033-2917
Funders: Wellcome Trust, MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 June 2020
Date of Acceptance: 8 June 2020
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 07:29

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