Analysis and treatment of finger sucking

Sherry A. Ellingson, Raymond G. Miltenberger, Jason M. Stricker, Matthew A. Garlinghouse, Jennifer Roberts, Tami L. Galensky, John T. Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


We analyzed and treated the finger sucking of 2 developmentally typical children aged 7 and 10 years. The functional analysis revealed that the finger sucking of both children was exhibited primarily during alone conditions, suggesting that the behavior was maintained by automatic reinforcement. An extended analysis provided support for this hypothesis and demonstrated that attenuation of stimulation produced by the finger sucking resulted in behavior reductions for both children. Treatment consisted of having each child wear a glove on the relevant hand during periods when he or she was alone. Use of the glove produced zero levels of finger sucking for 1 participant, whereas only moderate reductions were obtained for the other. Subsequently, an awareness enhancement device was used that produced an immediate reduction in finger sucking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-52
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Automatic reinforcement
  • Awareness enhancement device
  • Finger sucking
  • Functional analysis
  • Sensory attenuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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