RELATIVE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THREE DESCRIPTIVE METHODS: IMPLICATIONS FOR BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT

Authors


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

Abstract

This study compared the outcomes of three descriptive analysis methods—the ABC method, the conditional probability method, and the conditional and background probability method—to each other and to the results obtained from functional analyses. Six individuals who had been diagnosed with developmental delays and exhibited problem behavior participated. Functional analyses indicated that participants' problem behavior was maintained by social positive reinforcement (n = 2), social negative reinforcement (n = 2), or automatic reinforcement (n = 2). Results showed that for all but 1 participant, descriptive analysis outcomes were similar across methods. In addition, for all but 1 participant, the descriptive analysis outcome differed substantially from the functional analysis outcome. This supports the general finding that descriptive analysis is a poor means of determining functional relations.

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