Prevalence of self-injurious behaviors in a large state facility for the retarded: A three-year follow-up study
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A combined informant questionnaire and interview survey of self-injurious behavior (SIB) at a large state facility for the retarded was conducted independently three times over a 3-year period. Prevalence consistently was about 10% of the population. SIB cases tended to be younger and institutionalized longer than the rest of the population. Severe cases had a longer history of chronic SIB. SIB cases had more seizure disorders, severe language handicaps, visual impairments, and severe or profound retardation than the rest of the population. They appeared to fulfill most of the Rutter (1966) criteria for autism. But unlike the severely autistic, there was little relation of sex to incidence of SIB. Over 90% of SIB cases changed status over 3 years, suggesting that SIB was amenable to behavior modification in most cases (94%). Psychotropic behavior control medications helped in some intervention programs (52%). SIB remitted spontaneously in 27% of SIB cases where there had been no behavioral or drug intervention.
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