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Keywords:

  • functional analysis;
  • undifferentiated;
  • intellectual disabilities;
  • self-injury;
  • aggression

Abstract

The functional analysis (FA) described by Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994) delineated not only a set a specific procedures, but also a model that involves the use of analogue conditions wherein antecedent and consequent variables are systematically manipulated. This consecutive case-series analysis describes FAs of 176 individuals with intellectual disabilities who had been admitted to an inpatient unit for severe problem behavior. Following an initial standardized FA, additional modifications were performed in pursuit of differentiation. Ultimately, a function was identified in 86.9% of the 176 cases and in 93.3% of the 161 cases for which the FA, if necessary, was modified up to 2 times. All modifications were documented and classified as involving changes to antecedents, consequences, or design (or some combination of these). Outcomes for each type of modification are reported. The results support the utility of ongoing hypothesis testing through individualized modifications to FA procedures, and provide information regarding how each type of modification affected results.