FURTHER EVALUATION OF LEISURE ITEMS IN THE ATTENTION CONDITION OF FUNCTIONAL ANALYSES

Authors


New England Center for Children, 33 Turnpike Rd., Southborough, Massachusetts 01772 (e-mail: eroscoe@necc.org).

Abstract

Research suggests that including leisure items in the attention condition of a functional analysis may produce engagement that masks sensitivity to attention. In this study, 4 individuals' initial functional analyses indicated that behavior was maintained by nonsocial variables (n = 3) or by attention (n = 1). A preference assessment was used to identify items for subsequent functional analyses. Four conditions were compared, attention with and without leisure items and control with and without leisure items. Following this, either high- or low-preference items were included in the attention condition. Problem behavior was more probable during the attention condition when no leisure items or low-preference items were included, and lower levels of problem behavior were observed during the attention condition when high-preference leisure items were included. These findings suggest how preferred items may hinder detection of behavioral function.

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