Relation between heart rate and problem behaviors

Rachel L. Freeman, Robert H. Horner, Joe Reichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


A new methodological approach for understanding self-injury, aggression, and property destruction exhibited by individuals with severe developmental disabilities was evaluated in this descriptive study. Measures of heart-rate changes before, during, and after episodes of problem behavior were obtained in real time. Unique patterns of heart rate and problem behavior were documented for each participant. Heart rate, identified as an indicator of negative arousal, was reliably associated with higher scores of perceived distress. These results indicate that further research is needed to examine the link between problem behavior and physiology. The study also suggests that physiological measurement can be included in the functional assessment process to further our understanding of the mechanisms underlying problem behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-345
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal on Mental Retardation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1999


Dive into the research topics of 'Relation between heart rate and problem behaviors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this