The relationship of comorbid problem behaviors to social skills in persons with profound mental retardation

Johnny L. Matson, Department of Psychology, Louisiana State University, USA.
Noha F. Minshawi
Melissa L. Gonzalez
Stephen B. Mayville


Research into behavior problems among individuals with mental retardation has been well developed. However, few studies have addressed the effect of multiple problem behaviors on social skills. In the present study, the authors examined the relationship between two problem behaviors, stereotypy and self-injury, and social skills among individuals with profound mental retardation. A total of 120 participants were divided into four groups based on the presence of stereotypic and self-injurious behavior. Persons with comorbid stereotypy and self-injury evinced more negative nonverbal social skills than did those with self-injury alone or no problem behaviors. In the past, researchers examined behavior problems as isolated phenomena. However, a recent shift in the conceptualization of problem behaviors has exposed the lack of research regarding the nature of social and adaptive skills in the face of multiple topographies of problem behaviors using broader conceptualizations.