Reduction of food theft and long-term maintenance of weight loss in a Prader-Willi adult

Terry J. Page, Alison E. Stanley, Gina S. Richman, Rebecca M. Deal, Brian A. Iwata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral interventions have had limited success in managing the chronic hyperphagia and obesity that are of presumed organic etiology in Prader-Willi syndrome. Thus, frequent foraging for food and covert consumption continue to be health-threatening problems for many Prader-Willi individuals. This case study was designed to replicate methods for assessment and treatment of food theft. A token program based on differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior and response-cost eliminated theft in three hospital settings. Prior to discharge, the program was expanded to include contingencies on exercise behavior and weight loss, and staff from the subject's group home residence were trained to implement a modified program in the natural environment. Reduced food theft and continued weight loss were maintained in the group home and an apartment-living arrangement. A total of 81 lb (37 kg) was lost during a 2-yr period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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