Diagnostic boundaries between regulatory and multisystem developmental disorders: A clinical study

Alessia Cesari, S. Maestro, C. Cavallaro, A. Chilosi, C. Pecini, L. Pfanner, F. Muratori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of the study was to define diagnostic boundaries between Regulatory Disorders (RD) and Multisystem Developmental Disorders (MSDD). Two groups of 15 subjects, between 20 and 36 months of age, diagnosed as RD or MSDD, according to DC: 0-3 (1994) criteria, were compared in relationship, linguistic, and behavioral profiles using specific instruments. The results showed that both RD and MSDD children were impaired on all linguistic measures with a higher significant impairment of MSDD for communicative gestures, spontaneous speech, and verbal comprehension. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) showed significant differences for withdrawn, and somatic problems. Only the MSDD group reached the clinical cutoff score in total problems, internalizing and withdrawn behaviors. A discriminate analysis showed that the number of communicative gestures and the scores on withdrawn and somatic problems correctly predicted in 86% of cases. It was concluded that RD and MSDD children show quantitative and qualitative differences in many of the linguistic, behavioral, and relational dimensions that were explored. These dimensions may facilitate the differential diagnosis of these disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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