Motor abilities of male adolescents with a psychiatric disorder

Date: 1 July 2016

Venue: UAntwerp - Campus Drie Eiken - Building Q - Promotiezaal - Universiteitsplein 1 - 2610 WILRIJK

Time: 4:00 PM

Organization / co-organization: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

PhD candidate: Tine Van Damme

Principal investigator: Prof B. Sabbe & Prof J. Simons

Short description: PhD defence Tine Van Damme - Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences


Within the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, the motor ability domain is a relatively young area of interest. In the past decades, there is a growing body of research indicating an increased prevalence of impairment in motor abilities in children and adolescents with a psychiatric disorder. However, our current understanding of motor ability in relation to paediatric mental health disorders is limited in several ways. For instance, many questions concerning the prevalence, type, severity, impact of co-occurring motor problems, etc. remain unanswered and underexplored.

The studies included in this dissertation were designed to increase the knowledge regarding the motor abilities of male adolescents with a psychiatric condition. Throughout this work, the motor abilities of an inpatient clinical population with a range of psychiatric conditions were evaluated, analysed and compared to those of typically developing peers. First, the current state of knowledge was outlined by means of a systematic literature review. Second, we evaluated the appropriateness of a standardised motor assessment instrument, namely the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency, Second edition, for use in a Flemish adolescent population. In the third study, the detailed motor profiles of several diagnostic groups were explored and the extent to which a specific diagnosis contributes to variation in motor ability scores was examined. In the last two studies, the particular focus was directed towards adolescents with a Disruptive Behaviour Disorder. Within this population, the incidence, type and severity of motor impairment were evaluated. Moreover, the role of comorbidity with ADHD was assessed and the relationship of motor ability with other developmental domains, namely intellectual functioning and emotional and behavioural symptoms, was examined.

The findings from these studies underscore a high prevalence of impairment in motor abilities in male adolescents with a psychiatric condition. There is an urgent need to increase awareness, because within these populations, impairment in motor abilities goes often unnoticed or is obscured by the presence of severe behavioural and/or emotional problems.