Systematic Review of Restraint Interventions for Challenging Behaviour among Persons with Intellectual Disabilities: Focus on Effectiveness in Single-Case Experiments



Mieke Heyvaert, Lore Saenen, Bea Maes, Patrick Onghena

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities

26 FEB 2014

DOI: 10.1111/jar.12094



This article is the first in a two-part series: we focus on the effectiveness of restraint interventions (RIs) for reducing challenging behaviour (CB) among persons with intellectual disabilities in this first article. In the second article, we focus on experiences with RIs for CB among people with intellectual disabilities.


A mixed-methods research synthesis involving statistical meta-analysis and qualitative meta-synthesis techniques was applied to synthesize 76 retrieved articles. This first article reports on the meta-analysis of 59 single-case experiments (SCEs) on effectiveness of RIs for CB among people with intellectual disabilities.

Results and Conclusions

The RIs reported on in the SCEs were on average highly effective in reducing CB for people with intellectual disabilities, and this reduction in CB was statistically significant. However, the effects vary significantly over the included participants, and the published data and reported outcomes are rather unrepresentative of the everyday use of RIs among persons with intellectual disabilities.