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Am J Ment Retard. 1993 Jul;98(1):93-112.

Self-injury by people with mental retardation: a compulsive behavior hypothesis.

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Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute 90024.


Self-injury is a significant problem for many individuals with developmental disabilities, particularly those with severe or profound mental retardation. Many hypotheses have been suggested to account for self-injury, but none has been comprehensive. In this paper hypotheses suggesting psychological, behavioral, physiological, or neurochemical factors as causes of self-injury were critically reviewed. A compulsive behavior hypothesis was then introduced, which allows for alternative interpretations of some existing data and suggests several readily testable predictions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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