Factor Analytic Study of Repetitive Behaviours in Young Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders

  • Erin L. Mooney
  • Kylie M. Gray
  • Bruce J. Tonge
  • Deborah J. Sweeney
  • John R. Taffe
Original Paper


The aim of the current study was to investigate the manifestation of repetitive behaviour profiles in young children with a Pervasive Developmental Disorder. The sample consisted of 137 developmentally delayed children with a DSM-IV-TR Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and 61 developmentally delayed children without a PDD. An exploratory factor analytic investigation using 12 ADI-R repetitive behaviour items from parent report of children with a PDD reported the emergence of two factors. The first factor consisted of higher-level, “insistence on sameness” behaviours, and the second of lower-level, repetitive “sensory-motor” behaviours. This factor structure was also applicable to a more general group of young children with developmental delay, regardless of their diagnosis. Correlational analyses highlighted contrasting relationships between developmental variables and the different repetitive behaviour factors. These relationships were different for children with a PDD and those without a PDD. The findings have potential implications for the early assessment and diagnosis of PDDs in young children.


Pervasive developmental disorders Repetitive behaviour Factor analysis 



The authors would like to thank the families who volunteered their time to participate in this study. This research was supported by grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC), National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to Dr. Gray and Professor Tonge. Authors acknowledge the Southern Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service—Monash Autism Program, paediatricians and Specialist Children Services in Melbourne, Australia for assisting with data collection. Thanks also to Sally Herring, Helen Madill, Daniella Ventieri and Jaclyn Lontos for their assistance with data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin L. Mooney
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kylie M. Gray
    • 1
  • Bruce J. Tonge
    • 1
  • Deborah J. Sweeney
    • 1
  • John R. Taffe
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Developmental Psychiatry and Psychology, School of Psychology, Psychiatry & Psychological MedicineMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Child and Adolescent Mental Health ServiceMonash Medical CentreClaytonAustralia

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