Characteristics and relationship between hyperphagia, anxiety, behavioral challenges and caregiver burden in Prader-Willi syndrome


Kayadjanian N, Vrana-Diaz C, Bohonowych J, Strong TV, Morin J, Potvin D, Schwartz L.

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Objectives: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by maladaptive behaviors, amongst which hyperphagia is a life-long concern for individuals with PWS and their caregivers. The current study examined the contribution of hyperphagia and other factors to caregiver burden across lifespan, in 204 caregivers of individuals with PWS living in the US, using the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI) and the hyperphagia questionnaire (HQ-CT).

Results: We found a strong relationship between ZBI and HQ-CT especially in individuals with PWS older than 4 y and showed that HQ-CT scores of individuals with PWS is positively correlated with ZBI scores of their caregivers. The weight status of individuals with PWS was not associated with HQ-CT and ZBI scores, except for obese individuals who had significantly higher HQ-CT scores when compared to normal weight PWS individuals. We looked at PWS symptoms and care-related issues that impacted individuals and caregivers the most. We found that care-related tasks had the biggest negative impact on caregivers of children aged 0-4 y, whereas anxiety, temper tantrums, and oppositional behaviors of older individuals with PWS had the biggest impact on their caregivers concomitant with their high caregiver burden. Finally, we assessed the variability of HQ-CT and ZBI over 6 months in a subgroup of 83 participants. Overall, neither measure differed between 6 months and baseline. Most individual's absolute HQ-CT score changes were between 0-2 units, whereas absolute ZBI score changes were between 0-6 points. Changes in the caregiver's or individual's life had little or no effect on HQ-CT and ZBI scores.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates a relationship between hyperphagia and caregiver burden and sheds light on predominant symptoms in children and adolescents that likely underly PWS caregiver burden. The stability and relationship between HQ-CT and ZBI support ZBI as an additional outcome measure in PWS clinical trials.