Preliminary study of altered skin temperature at body sites associated with self-injurious behavior in adults who have developmental disabilities

Am J Ment Retard. 2001 Jul;106(4):336-43. doi: 10.1352/0895-8017(2001)106<0336:PSOAST>2.0.CO;2.


In this study, the sensory status of 4 nonverbal adults with mental retardation and severe self-injury was examined using skin temperature measures prior to opiate antagonist treatment. Double-blind, placebo-controlled, experimental ABAB designs were used to evaluate the effects of naltrexone hydrochloride (1.5 mg/kg/day). For each participant, the body site targeted most frequently for self-injury was associated with altered skin temperature and reduced by naltrexone. In all cases, neither infrequent self-injury body sites nor non-self-injury body sites were associated with altered skin temperature. Further controlled studies are warranted to examine the value of assessing pain status and skin temperature in nonverbal patients with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities who present with tissue-damaging SIB.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / drug effects
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Body Surface Area
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / drug therapy
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Naltrexone / administration & dosage
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use
  • Narcotic Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / drug therapy
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / physiopathology*
  • Skin Temperature / drug effects
  • Skin Temperature / physiology*


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naltrexone