Comorbidity is the presence of at least two disorders in one person at one time. This study examined the frequency of gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, sleep problems, comorbid psychopathology, challenging behaviour and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms in children and adolescents with duplication 15q syndrome (Dup15q), aged 3-17 years. This study also examined whether challenging behaviour in Dup15q is predicted by age, gender, presence of an intellectual disability, sleep problems, GI symptoms and comorbid psychopathology.
Parental measures were completed by 101 parents of children and adolescents with Dup15q. Questionnaires were composed of the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire, Behavior Problems Inventory - Short Form, GI Symptom Inventory, Social Communication Questionnaire and the Child Behavior Checklist.
Sleep problems (94%), GI symptoms (87%) and challenging behaviour (100%) were common comorbidities represented in the sample in this study. Significant relationships were found between challenging behaviour and the presence of co-occurring sleep problems, GI symptoms, comorbid psychopathology and ASD symptoms. Further analysis revealed that these comorbidities also predicted challenging behaviour.
This research demonstrated the importance of studying the relationships between GI symptoms, sleep problems, comorbid psychopathology, ASD symptoms and challenging behaviour in Dup15q and how these conditions can shape the Dup15q phenotype.