Sequential analysis of the effects of naltrexone on the environmental mediation of self-injurious behavior
Exp Clin Psychopharmacol
Accumulated evidence shows that biology and the environment can mediate self-injurious behavior (SIB) in persons with mental retardation. Whether pharmacological treatment alters the environmental mediation of self-injury is unclear. Opioid antagonist effects on sequential dependencies for self-injury were studied in the context of experimental single-subject double-blind placebo-controlled designs. Direct observational data were collected for 4 adult subjects in real time on daily rate of SIB and staff interactions. Clinically significant reductions (i.e., > or = 33%) in SIB rate were observed for 3 of the 4 subjects. For all subjects, the magnitude of the sequential dependency between staff behavior and self-injury was significantly greater during treatment with naltrexone than during treatment with a placebo. Results are discussed in relation to behavioral mechanisms of action regulating medication effects for self-injury.