• Cornelia de Lange syndrome;
  • descriptive analysis;
  • self-injurious behaviour


Background  There has been limited empirical research into the environmental causes of self-injury in Cornelia de Lange syndrome. The present study examined the variability of self-injurious behaviour in Cornelia de Lange syndrome across environmental setting events. Additionally, the association between setting events and more specific environmental events was examined.

Method  A descriptive analysis of observational data on eight children with Cornelia de Lange syndrome aged between 4 and 14 years was carried out. The association between self-injurious behaviour and four environmental setting events and between specific environmental events and setting events was examined using established statistical methods for observational data.

Results  Seven out of eight of the participants showed at least one form of self-injurious behaviour that was associated with a particular setting event. The study also demonstrated that the relationship between setting events and environmental events is extremely variable across individuals.

Conclusions  Self-injurious behaviour in some individuals with Cornelia de Lange syndrome is associated with environmental events although the precise nature of the association warrants clarification. Using broad setting events as a methodological tool in isolation provides some insight into the role of specific environmental factors in maintaining self-injurious behaviour but the integrity of setting events must be established.