Article

Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 70, Issue 1, pp 27-37

First online:

Behavioral Rehabilitation and the Reduction of Aggressive and Self-Injurious Behaviors with Cognitively Impaired, Chronic Psychiatric Inpatients

  • Stephen B. BellusAffiliated withStaff psychologist and Program Manager of the BRITE I (Behavioral Rehabilitation and Interpersonal Treatment Environment I) Program at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at
  • , Joseph G. Vergo
  • , Peter P. KostAffiliated withStaff psychologist and Program Manager of the BRITE I (Behavioral Rehabilitation and Interpersonal Treatment Environment I) Program at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology at the State University of New York (SUNY) at
  • , Diane StewartAffiliated withTreating psychiatrist for the BRITE I Program and is currently associated with the Clifton Springs Hospital
  • , Scott R. BarkstromAffiliated withGraduate student at the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at SUNY at Buffalo during the third year of operation of BRITE I and is currently staff psychologist at the St. Francis Hospital

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Abstract

Aggressive behavior has been identified as a significant concern and occupational hazard in psychiatric inpatient settings. Several factors, including lax or unclear ward structure, have been identified as contributing to the exhibition of aggressive behavior. Token economies are effective in increasing ward structure and reducing aggressive behavior. This study evaluated the effects of rehabilitation programming, based on Gordon Paul's social learning approach (SLA), on rates of aggressive and self-injurious behaviors in a group of cognitively impaired, chronic psychiatric inpatients, compared to three long-term wards of similar patients. While no differences were found between the two groups prior to implementing SLA procedures, lower rates of aggression and self-injurious behavior were observed at one and two years on the Paul-derived ward. These results support the use of Paul's approach with multiply-impaired psychiatric inpatients in reducing patient aggression.