A population-based analysis of behavior problems in children with cerebral palsy

Suzanne McDermott, Ann L. Coker, Subramani Mani, Shanthi Krishnaswami, Richard J. Nagle, Laura L. Barnett-Queen, Donald F. Wuori

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Used the National Health Interview Survey, Child Health Supplement for 1981 and 1988, to analyze parent-reported behavior problems of children, ages 4-17 years, with cerebral palsy (n = 47), with mental retardation (n = 50), with other chronic conditions (n = 6,038), and with no known health problem (n = 5,930), using the Behavior Problem Index (developed by Zill and Peterson). Behaviors with scores greater than the 90th percentile of the entire sample were considered problem behaviors. Parent-reported behavior problems were 5 times more likely in children with cerebral palsy (25.5%) compared with children having no known health problem (5.4%). The adjusted odds ratio for behavior problems of children with cerebral palsy without mental retardation was 4.9 and of children with mental retardation without cerebral palsy was 7.9. Specific behaviors that were most problematic for children with cerebral palsy were identified as dependency, headstrong, and hyperactive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-463
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
'This publication was supported by a Disability Prevention Program Cooperation Agreement with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC. The authors acknowledge Coleen Boyle for her identification of this data set.


  • behavior problems
  • cerebral palsy
  • mental retardation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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