Delineating subtypes of self-injurious behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement

Louis P. Hagopian, Griffin W. Rooker, Jennifer R. Zarcone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is maintained by automatic reinforcement in roughly 25% of cases. Automatically reinforced SIB typically has been considered a single functional category, and is less understood than socially reinforced SIB. Subtyping automatically reinforced SIB into functional categories has the potential to guide the development of more targeted interventions and increase our understanding of its biological underpinnings. The current study involved an analysis of 39 individuals with automatically reinforced SIB and a comparison group of 13 individuals with socially reinforced SIB. Automatically reinforced SIB was categorized into 3 subtypes based on patterns of responding in the functional analysis and the presence of self-restraint. These response features were selected as the basis for subtyping on the premise that they could reflect functional properties of SIB unique to each subtype. Analysis of treatment data revealed important differences across subtypes and provides preliminary support to warrant additional research on this proposed subtyping model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)523-543
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • automatic reinforcement
  • functional analysis
  • self-injurious behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Delineating subtypes of self-injurious behavior maintained by automatic reinforcement'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this