A comparison of shock intensity in the treatment of longstanding and severe self-injurious behavior

Res Dev Disabil. May-Jun 1993;14(3):207-19. doi: 10.1016/0891-4222(93)90031-e.


A comparison of shock intensity was conducted while treating a young woman with mental retardation and severe self-injurious behavior (SIB). Two levels of shock intensity were evaluated: 3.5 milliamps (mA) delivered via the Self-Injurious Behavior Inhibiting System (SIBIS) and 18.5 mA delivered via the Hot Shot Power Mite. A combined reversal and multiple baseline across behaviors design was used to evaluate treatment effects. SIBIS in conjunction with differential reinforcement and extinction of self-injurious escape behavior produced minimal reductions in SIB. The Hot Shot combined with extinction of self-injurious escape behavior and reinforcement for compliance resulted in immediate and large reductions in SIB. Residential staff were trained to implement contingencies by the fourth day of treatment with excellent generalization from 30-min sessions to the natural environment across all waking hours. Continuous protective restraints were eliminated within the first month of treatment. Progress occurred in personal care, vocational training, independence, and communication. Treatment effects were maintained for approximately 6 months until a relapse occurred after home visits.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Aversive Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Electroshock*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Intellectual Disability / psychology
  • Restraint, Physical
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / therapy*
  • Social Environment
  • Wounds and Injuries / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology