EXPERIMENTAL ANALYSIS AND TREATMENT OF MULTIPLY CONTROLLED SELF-INJURY

Authors


Department of Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611

Abstract

A functional analysis of the self-injurious behavior (SIB) of 3 adults with profound developmental disabilities showed that each engaged in SIB in more than one assessment condition. Such outcomes may result from a failure to isolate the variable maintaining SIB, or they may reflect multiple sources of control over SIB. In order to identify more clearly the determinants of SIB, each subject was exposed to a series of treatments appropriate to one or both of the apparent functions of SIB. These treatments, applied sequentially on baselines appropriate to each behavioral function, identified the maintaining variables for SIB through differential outcomes across baselines. Results indicated that the SIB of 2 subjects was multiply controlled, confirming the outcomes of the functional analysis. However, the SIB of the 3rd subject was eliminated using a treatment designed for a single function, suggesting spurious results of the original assessment. Alternative interpretations of undifferentiated assessment data are discussed, as are analysis and treatment issues related to multiply determined behavior disorders.

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