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Behavior profile and social competence in children and adolescents with Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness and degeneration, which are accompanied by sensory and neuropsychological losses. The aims of this study were to evaluate the behavior profile of DMD children and adolescents and examine the influence of motor impairment, age at start using a wheelchair, and age at diagnosis on behavioral characteristics. Thirty-five patients and 20 controls participated. DMD patients formed two different groups according to the intelligence quotient (IQ). Participants' parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist. DMD groups scored lower on the Activities and the Social scales. Patients with QI < 80 presented lower indices in the School scale (p < 0.01, ANCOVA). Motor impairment and age at start using a wheelchair and at diagnosis correlated with psychiatric/somatic symptoms and school problems. The findings highlight the need of educational programs concerning the disease as a basis for the development of social inclusion strategies.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy; behavior; social problems; intelligence

Programa de Pós-graduação em Psicologia e do Programa de Pós-graduação em Psicobiologia, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte Caixa Postal 1622, 59078-970 Natal RN Brazil, Tel.: +55 84 3342-2236(5) - Natal - RN - Brazil