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Keywords:

  • functional analysis;
  • self-injurious behavior;
  • relapse

When relapse occurs following successful treatment to reduce problem behavior, it is often attributed to inconsistent implementation of maintenance programs. Although less likely, another potential cause for relapse is a change in the behavior's maintaining contingency over time. To examine this possibility, additional assessment was conducted with 4 individuals who were rereferred to a day-treatment program due to recurrence of their self-injurious behavior (SIB) 2 months to 2 years following successful treatment. In each case, the original treatment had been developed and implemented based on the outcome of functional analysis assessments. For 1 subject, results of a second functional analysis were consistent with those from the original assessment, indicating that the function of her SIB had remained unchanged. For the other 3 subjects, results of the second assessment suggested that their SIB had acquired new or additional functions. These findings indicate that factors other than program inconsistency can lead to relapse, and that clinical revaluation for such cases should include a current functional analysis to determine if new treatment components are needed.