Examining the Relationship Between Heart Rate and Problem Behavior: A Case Study of Severe Skin Picking in Prader-Willi Syndrome

American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (Impact Factor: 2.08). 11/2013; 118(6):460-74. DOI: 10.1352/1944.7558-118.6.460
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Abstract Few studies have examined the relationship between heart rate and self-injurious behavior (SIB) shown by individuals with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities). In this single-case study, we simultaneously monitored heart rate and activity levels during a functional analysis of severe skin picking behavior exhibited by a young man with Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). Results of the functional analysis indicated that the participant's skin picking was maintained by automatic reinforcement. A within-session analysis of the data indicated that skin picking bouts resulted in an increase in heart rate, suggesting a positive- automatic reinforcement function. These data indicate that inclusion of heart rate and activity-level monitoring during a functional analysis may provide important additional information concerning the determinants of SIB.

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