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Am J Ment Retard. 2002 May;107(3):212-21.

Behavioral treatment of self-injury, 1964 to 2000.

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The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


A quantitative analysis of behavioral research on the treatment of self-injurious behavior (SIB) over the past 35 years is provided. A literature search covering the period from 1964 to 2000 yielded 396 articles (706 participants) on the treatment of SIB. Most research participants have been male and diagnosed with severe/profound mental retardation. The use of reinforcement-based interventions has increased during the past decade, whereas the use of punishment-based interventions has decreased slightly; both of these trends coincide with the increase in the use of functional assessments. Most treatments have been highly effective in reducing SIB; nevertheless, the disorder persists in spite of an abundance of research, suggesting that a greater emphasis should be placed on prevention.

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