Do children with primary nocturnal enuresis have clinically significant behavior problems?

Patrick C. Friman, Michael L. Handwerk, Susan M. Swearer, J. Christopher McGinnis, William J. Warzak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine if primary nocturnal enuresis (PNE) is accompanied by significant behavioral comorbidity. Design: A survey design using a standardized behavioral rating scale. Setting: Behavioral pediatric clinics in the Midwest. Participants: Subjects with PNE (n=92) were selected from 122 consecutive referrals for enuresis. Criteria included age 5 years or older, PNE status, and wetting frequency of at least once per week. The clinical sample without PNE (n=92) was randomly selected from 429 consecutive referrals' to the same pediatric clinics, stratified for age and sex. The nonclinical sample (n=92) was randomly selected by strata from the standardization sample (N=614) of the behavioral checklist used in the study. Main Outcome Measure: The Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory (ECBI), a standardized parent report scale, was used to measure the degree of behavioral comorbidity. The ECBI yields 2 scores, Problem Intensity and Problem Number. Results: Results from 2 separate 3 (group) X 2 (sex) analyses of variance indicated a significant main effect for group on Problem Intensity and Problem Number (P<.001). For Problem Intensity, post hoc comparisons indicated the mean of the PNE sample was significantly higher than the mean of the nonclinical sample (P<.05), but the mean scores of the clinical sample were significantly higher than those of both the PNE and nonclinical samples (P<.05). For Problem Number, post hoc comparisons revealed the means of the PNE and nonclinical samples did not differ from each other (P>.05) but were lower than the mean of the clinical sample (P<.05). Conclusion: Primary nocturnal enuresis does not present with significant behavioral comorbidity in most cases. The results suggest that, with the exception of an extraordinary clinical presentation, pediatricians should treat PNE as a common biobehavioral problem without a psychiatric component.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-539
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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