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Q17 - behaving appropriately

This advice applies to England

This question is at the bottom of page 17 of the form - see what it looks like

ESA50 page 17

How to answer the question

This question is about whether it's difficult for you to control your behaviour in front of other people or if you behave in an unusual way in front of them.

This could be because you have a mental health condition or a brain injury. It could also be relevant if you have a condition such as epilepsy or diabetes - depending on whether you have hypos or seizures, and how these affect you.

You should fill in this question if your behaviour has made other people feel uncomfortable, scared, upset or threatened.

"How often do you behave in a way which upsets other people?"

  • Every day
  • Frequently
  • Occasionally

Think about how often you've been unable to control your behaviour or reactions when other people are around. It could be people you know or people you don't know.

Try to be honest about what happens, even if you find it embarrassing.

You should say if you've upset people, for example, by:

  • shouting or screaming
  • hitting or threatening to hurt them
  • completely ignoring them
  • throwing something with the intention of breaking it, like a mug or plate
  • saying inappropriate things, for example if you have a condition that makes you swear
  • crying uncontrollably or all the time - remember to explain why this happens
  • taking your clothes off

What to write in the box

It's important you tell the DWP more by explaining your situation in the box.

You should explain if, for example:

  • you've ever become violent towards someone - and say if you've been arrested because of it
  • you've been barred from a shop, pub or other place 
  • your medication makes you behave in an inappropriate or unusual way
  • you have a problem with drugs or alcohol that makes you aggressive or act inappropriately
  • you know you upset people, but you can't control your actions
  • you've been so upset that you can't calm down
  • you won't go out because you're scared you'll do or say something that could affect other people


Nigel says: "I have outbursts that I can't control when I hear voices in my head - and people around me get upset. For example I was barred from my local shop after I threw the contents of my wallet all over the floor because I couldn't find a £1 coin to pay for a pint of milk. The shop assistant told me I was acting aggressively and couldn't come back."

Next steps

Question 18: Eating and drinking

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