A Quantitative Synthesis of Developmental Disability Research: The Impact of Functional Assessment Methodology on Treatment Effectiveness

By Delfs, Caitlin H.; Campbell, Jonathan M. | The Behavior Analyst Today, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

A Quantitative Synthesis of Developmental Disability Research: The Impact of Functional Assessment Methodology on Treatment Effectiveness


Delfs, Caitlin H., Campbell, Jonathan M., The Behavior Analyst Today


Although not essential for a diagnosis, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Intellectual Disability (ID) are commonly associated with a broad range of maladaptive behaviors including self-injurious behavior (SIB), property destruction, aggression towards others, severe disruptions, and stereotypic behaviors (e.g., body rocking). Maladaptive behaviors can lead to poor social relationships; poor academic success, destruction of property, and serious medical problems, such as tissue damage. For these reasons, the assessment and treatment of such behaviors in individuals with ASD and ID is an important component of any comprehensive approach to rehabilitation.

A behavioral approach to intervening with maladaptive behaviors has been consistently documented as the most efficacious approach for treating aberrant behaviors (Gresham et al., 2004; Campbell, Herzinger, & James, 2007). The key to effective treatment is the identification of the function, or purpose, of the behavior. The most current taxonomy of behavioral function focuses on three types of reinforcement as the major mechanisms maintaining behavior: (a) positive reinforcement, (b) negative reinforcement, and (c) automatic reinforcement. In the last 25 years, there has been a trend toward developing treatments for maladaptive behaviors following determination of the hypothesized functions of the behaviors through Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA). Based on the ascribed function of the target behavior, an appropriate treatment package can be selected. Researchers assessing maladaptive behaviors agree that identifying the function of the target behavior is integral in the treatment selection process; thus FBAs are a core feature in the development of interventions designed to ameliorate aberrant behaviors (Yarborough & Carr, 2000) and required by federal education law (e.g., Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA], P.L. 105-117, 1997).

Although required by law in some cases, the term FBA is still somewhat vague. Generally, FBA refers to any methodology used to identify the purpose of behavior and encompasses indirect assessments, (e.g., interviews, rating scales), descriptive assessments (e.g., A-B-C sheets, direct observation with no variable or environment manipulation); and functional analyses (FA; e.g., analogue conditions in which antecedent or consequent variables are systematically manipulated within an experimental design). For the purposes of this paper, we are using the term FA to describe all experimental analyses. The term Behavioral Assessment (BA) refers to those assessments which are non-experimental in nature and includes both indirect and descriptive assessments.

Several researchers have made comparisons across FBA methodologies and, in general, the findings support the FA as the "gold standard" for ascribing function and consequently developing function-based treatments. Paclawskyj et al. (2001) and Durand and Crimmins (1988) both reported positive correlations when comparing FA outcomes to the functions hypothesized by the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF; Matson & Vollmer, 1995) and the Motivation Assessment Scale (MAS; Durand & Crimmins, 1992), respectively. In contrast, Hall (2005) found that descriptive and experimental methods of FBA agreed only 25% of the time. In almost all published accounts of comparison data, the FA represented the gold standard for validity tests of other types of assessment.

Others have looked beyond comparisons of ascribed function across FBA types and instead assessed intervention outcomes across methodologies. Knowing which FBA methodology is associated with more successful treatment outcomes is imperative. Didden, Korzilius, van Oorsouw, and Sturmey (2006) made comparisons across descriptive and experimental FBAs and found that treatments based on experimental methods resulted in significantly higher treatment effectiveness scores. Herzinger and Campbell (2007) conducted a meta-analysis of autism literature on the assessment and treatment of maladaptive behaviors. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Quantitative Synthesis of Developmental Disability Research: The Impact of Functional Assessment Methodology on Treatment Effectiveness
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.