Acting Out Behavior Management

Whether we work in health care, education, or any human services field, we might deal with angry, hostile, or noncompliant behavior every day. Our response to defensive behavior often the key to avoiding a physical confrontation with someone who has lost control of their behavior.

I. Definition: Acting out behavior refers to problem behavior that is physically aggressive, destructive to property, verbally aggressive or otherwise more severe than simple misbehavior. Acting out behavior is disruptive in any setting and often requires formal intervention to manage it.

II. Signs and Symptom of Acting out Behavior

Behavioral Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

Cognitive Symptoms

Psychosocial Symptoms

Emotional Symptoms

III. Factors/Events that Trigger Acting out Behavior



Relationships with Others

Health Care Facilities


IV. Causes of Acting Out Behavior


The Brain-Behavior Connection


Health Condition and Psychiatric Issues

V. How to Deal With Acting out Behavior in Health Care Facilites

A. CPI Crisis Development Model

1. Anxiety (agitated state)… Supportive (show empathy)

2. Defensive…Directive (Give simple clear orders)

3. Acting out person… Non-violent physical crisis interventions (nonharmful control positions to be used as a last resort)

4. Tension reduction…Therapeutic rapport re-establish communication (de-escalated state)

B. CPI’s Top 10 De-Escalation Tips