Restitution: A method of eliminating aggressive-disruptive behavior of retarded and brain damaged patients

R. M. Foxx, N. H. Azrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Current methods of penalizing aggressive and disruptive behaviors have elements of retribution that discourage general usage. A procedure was developed that provided disruptive offenders with re-education, removal of the reinforcement for the offense, time-out from general positive reinforcement, and an effort requirement. The offender was required by instructions or physical guidance to overcorrect the general psychological and physical disturbance created by the offense. The procedure was applied to one brain-damaged and two retarded patients, who displayed one or more of the following types of behavior: physical assault, property destruction, tantrums, continuous screaming, and biting, all of which had resisted other treatments such as time-out, punishment and social disapproval. The procedure reduced the disturbed behaviors of all patients to a near-zero level within one or two weeks and maintained this therapeutic effect with minimal staff attention. This method appears to be a rapid and effective treatment procedure for disruptive behavior and emphasizes the individual's responsibility for his actions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1972

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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