Abnormal Psychology

HomeStudy GuidesAbnormal Psychology
The Nature of Psychopathology and Abnormal Psychology
The Diagnosis of Mental Disorders

Stereotypic Movement Disorder (307.3)

DSM-IV-TR criteria

  • A. Repetitive, seemingly driven, and nonfunctional motor behavior (e.g., hand shaking or waving, body rocking, head banging, mouthing of objects, self-biting, hitting own body).
  • B. The behavior markedly interferes with normal activities or results in self-inflicted bodily injury that requires medical treatment (or would result in an injury if preventive measures were not used).
  • C. If Mental Retardation is present, the stereotypical or self-injurious behavior is often of sufficient severity to become a focus of treatment.
  • D. The behavior is not better accounted for by a compulsion (as in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), a tic (as in Tic Disorder), a stereotype that is part of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, or hair pulling (as in Trichotillomania).
  • E. The behavior is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a general medical condition.
  • F. The behavior persists for 4 weeks or longer.
  • Specify if:

    • With Self-Injurious Behavior


  • Approximately 2-3% of children with some form of mental retardation suffer from Stereotopic Movment Disorder in the community.
  • 25% of all people institutionalized with mental retardation have Sterotypic Movement Disorder.
  • Among those with severe or profound retardation, the rate is about 60%, with 15% showing behavior that causes self-injury (Steroetypic Movement Disorder).


  • Stereotypic Movement Disorder is extremely common in children who are considered severely retarded.
  • Occurs most often in children with autism, childhood degenerative disorder, Asperger's disorder, and most other pervasive developmental disorders (Stereotypic Movement Disorder).


  • May be caused by major disorders such as Autism and/or mental retardation.
  • Children with Anxiety disorders may be more likely to suffer from Stereotypic Movement Disorder.


  • Few treatments used specifically for this disorder are successful.
  • Drugs that have been used with some success to treat stereotypic movement disorder include clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), haloperidol(Haldol) and chlorpromazine (Thorazine)(Stereotypic Movement Disorder).

Licenses and Attributions