• functional analysis;
  • contingency reversal;
  • outpatient assessment;
  • aggressive behavior;
  • severely handicapped

We conducted a brief functional analysis to identify maintaining variables for aggressive behavior and an alternative replacement response during a 90-min outpatient evaluation of 3 individuals with severe handicaps. During the initial analogue assessment, which focused on identifying maintaining contingencies for aggressive behavior, each participant displayed a substantially greater frequency of aggressive behavior during one condition than during any other. The contingency that produced the highest percentage of aggressive behavior was then presented for the occurrence of a specific alternative behavior (a mand). During this contingency reversal phase, each participant displayed a substantial reduction in aggressive behavior and a substantial increase in alternative behavior, thus providing a direct analysis of the equivalency of the contingency for maintaining either behavior.