Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in School Psychology


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Klanderman, John

Committee Member 1

Dihoff, Roberta


Developmentally disabled; Self-destructive behavior


Educational Psychology


The purpose of this thesis was to explore the probability that Naltrexone can reduce self-injurious behavior, specifically the frequency, as measured by total number of incidents, and severity, measured by total number of self-inflicted injuries. Naltrexone is a pure opiate antagonist, which internally alters the reinforcement contingencies that maintain self-injurious behavior. One of the factors that contribute to the maintenance of self-injurious behavior is the endorphins that are naturally released when the body experiences pain. These endorphins can cause a pleasant, euphoric feeling, which internally reinforces self-inflicted painful experiences.

Available records were reviewed for 7 male inpatient adults with developmental disabilities to ascertain the effects of Naltrexone on their severe self-injurious behavior and rates of self-inflicted injuries. Data was be presented in terms of behavior frequencies for baseline phase, lasting six months, and treatment phase, also six months in duration. A t-test was used to compare baseline and treatment phases.

The data presented in this study allows this researcher to reject the null hypothesis (of no effect) and accept the alternate hypothesis that there would be a difference in self-injurious behavior, as measured by injury rates and frequencies of behavior, between the baseline and treatment phases. Although the behavior frequency did not decrease significantly the severity of SIB did decrease significantly as evidenced by the reduction in injuries.