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Vigorous and damaging head-banging and head and body-rocking can occur in normal subjects of average intelligence before and during sleep. Reports of behavioural treatments for this are reviewed. Data from the present case and others suggest that waking plus efficient response prevention is sufficient to substantially reduce or eliminate the activity even when the treatment has been withdrawn for up to one year. The aetiology of the activity is not understood. However, this case suggests that head- and body-rolling, when long-established, need not enhance the quality of sleep since this was unimpaired on completion of treatment and was possibly even improved by the elimination of the movements. The present case also demonstrates that the behaviour can be treated successfully even when considerable environmental stresses occur. © 1982.

Original publication




Journal article


Behaviour Research and Therapy

Publication Date





523 - 526