Br J Psychiatry 1998 Mar;172:273-6
Psychology Department, St George's Hospital Medical School, London.
Background: In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the study of distinctive patterns of behavioural and psychological characteristics associated with specific, biologically determined, intellectually disabling conditions. This study investigates whether such a profile can be identified in adults with Williams syndrome.
Method: Parents and other care-givers were interviewed about the social, emotional and behavioural characteristics of 70 adults with Williams syndrome, aged 19 years to 39 years 9 months.
Results: The adults were reported to have high rates of behavioural and emotional difficulties, particularly in terms of poor social relationships, over-friendliness and social disinhibition, preoccupations and obsessions, and high levels of anxiety and distractibility.
Conclusions: The findings provide preliminary support for the existence of a specific pattern of behavioural and personality characteristics and associated difficulties in adults with Williams syndrome, which persist from childhood and often require intervention from mental health professionals. Implications for clinical practice are considered.