Reduction of eye gouging using a response interruption procedure

Keith J. Slifer, Brian A. Iwata, Michael F. Dorsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


A profoundly retarded male with severe congenital impairment of vision and hearing was treated for self-inflicted eye gouging. Prior to intervention, continuous mechanical restraint was required to prevent the response, precluding participation in educational and play activities. The response topography, the nature of the client's deficits, and a preliminary behavioral and medical assessment suggested that the response functioned as a source of sensory self-stimulation. Presentation of toys plus differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) as alternate sources of stimulation during baseline had no impact on eye gouging. The introduction of a contingent response interruption procedure reduced eye gouging and decreased the amount of time spent in restraints. Treatment effects were replicated in a group setting, and in the natural environment. Parents and school personnel were trained to use the treatment, and eye gouging remained infrequent at a 9-month follow-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1984

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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