Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Johnny L. Matson


Behavior problems of 44 children with Down Syndrome between the ages of 6 and 15 and 44 controls without mental retardation matched for age, sex and socioeconomic status were compared by means of mother and teacher ratings. Ratings from both sources indicated that children with Down Syndrome had more behavior problems, in particular attention deficit, noncompliance, thought disorder and social withdrawal. Thirty one percent of these children were identified by mothers as having a significant behavior problem compared with 58% of those rated by teachers. In both cases, Down Syndrome behavior problem prevalence exceeded that for controls by a three to one margin. Negative life events from the past year were significantly associated with mother but not teacher ratings of Down Syndrome behavior problems. No significant interaction between Down Syndrome and negative life events was identified. For the entire sample, negative life events proved to be as strongly associated with behavior problems as adaptive behavior level on the basis of mother ratings, but less strongly associated with behavior problems than adaptive behavior on the basis of teacher ratings. Implications of the results for developmental disability and life events research are discussed.