Date of Defense





Many research studies have examined the effectiveness and ethicality of behavior modification programs aimed at alleviating self-injurious behaviors. Recent investigations con ducted by Azrin and Nunn showed that habitual behaviors, like biting one's nails, could become self-destructive unless preventive intervention occurred. Combining their habit-reversal strategies with relaxation training was the treatment approach best suited for eliminating the present clients' severe skin-picking behaviors. Two female adult retarded rehabilitation employees engaged in four basic therapeutic conditions (a) identification of behaviors comprising habit, (b) identification of situations and collateral behaviors that precede habit, (c) training to apply competing behaviors under private supervision, and (d) training to apply competing behaviors in vivo. Progressive-muscle-relaxation training involved giving verbal instructions systematically arranged to induce muscular tension and subsequent muscular relaxation} sessions were first run under private supervision, and then in vivo. A multiple-baseline across subjects design was employed with changes in behavior being monitored by using four recording procedures* (a) checking individual regions on both sides of target skin areas, (b) direct frequency with in interval observation, (c) self-reports, and (d) taking Polaroid pictures. Clinical training for both clients yielded two results} (l) frequency and severity of skin abrasions decreased, and (2) a correlation existed between direct observation and severity. The duration of sessions and clinical program, however, were held accountable for fluctuating scores.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only