Exploring the utility of functional analysis methodology to assess and treat problematic verbal behavior in persons with acquired brain injury



Functional analyses were conducted on four adults with acquired brain injuries who regularly displayed instances of inappropriate verbal behavior including depressive, aggressive, suicidal, profane, and sexually inappropriate utterances. After the functional analysis yielded a maintaining variable for each participant, a function-based intervention consisting of differential reinforcement of alternative verbal behavior was implemented. Results of the behavioral interventions show that instances of vocal behavior can be assessed and subsequently treated using the functional analysis methodology often reserved for nonverbal forms of behavior. The utility of functional analysis for assessing complex human behavior is discussed. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.