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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 1983 Jun;11(2):299-311.

Some social contexts of self-destructive behavior.


This study investigated the social context of self-injurious behavior in autistic, schizophrenic, and mentally retarded children residing in a state hospital. Social interactions between subjects and staff were recorded along with subjects' self-destructive behavior. The results showed a substantial increase in self-destructive behavior following the staff's presentation of demands, denials, and punishments in 19 of the 20 subjects. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that self-injurious behavior is a social behavior, which is determined by persons in the environment. In addition, the self-destructive behavior of one subject may have been largely self-stimulatory in nature.

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