ANTECEDENT VERSUS CONSEQUENT EVENTS AS PREDICTORS OF PROBLEM BEHAVIOR

Authors


Psychology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611 (e-mail: iwata@ufl.edu).

Abstract

Comparisons of results from descriptive and functional analyses of problem behavior generally have shown poor correspondence. Most descriptive analyses have focused on relations between consequent events and behavior, and it has been noted that attention is a common consequence for problem behavior even though it may not be a functional reinforcer. Because attention may be prescribed simply as a means of stopping serious problem behavior, it is possible that naturally occurring antecedent events (establishing operations) might be better predictors of problem behavior than consequences. We conducted descriptive and functional analyses of the problem behaviors of 7 participants. Conditional probabilities based on combined antecedent and consequent events showed correspondence with the functional analysis data for 4 of the 7 participants, but antecedent events were no better than consequent events in identifying the function of problem behavior.

Ancillary