Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #47
CE Offered: BACB
Considerations for Conducting Functional Behavior Assessments: Recent Research on the Use of Functional Behavior Assessment in the Treatment of Challenging Behavior
Sunday, September 29, 2019
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 2, C2
Area: CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Bethany P. Contreras Young (Middle Tennessee State University )
CE Instructor: Bethany P. Contreras Young, Ph.D.

Best practice in the treatment of problem behavior is for the clinician to begin the process with a functional behavior assessment (FBA) to identify possible variables that are contributing to and maintaining the problem behavior. In this symposium, we will present recent research regarding the use of FBA in the treatment of problem behavior. Stefania Dögg Johannesdottir will discuss an analysis of the agreement between mothers and their children on responses to FBA interviews. Bethany Contreras will present the results of systematic literature review that compared the outcomes for descriptive assessments and experimental functional analyses. Anna-Lind Petursdottir will end the symposium by presenting data from an application of function-based behavior support plans to improving challenging and appropriate behavior of six children in a typical pre-school setting. Each presentation will include a discussion of the implications of the data and considerations for enhancing the success of FBA in the treatment of problem behavior.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): behavior assessment, functional assessment, problem behavior
Target Audience:

Clinicians who use functional behavior assessments.

Learning Objectives: 1.) Attendees will learn about administering functional behavior assessment questionnaires to both the target individual and caregivers, and how this information can be used in the context of treating problem behaviors. 2.) Attendees will learn about the process of using functional behavior assessment to develop function based treatments, and how this process is implemented in a typical preschool setting. 3.) Attendees will learn about the distinctions between descriptive assessments and functional analyses, and considerations regarding the accuracy of each type of assessment for identifying functions of problem behavior.

Analysis of Child and Mother Agreement on the Influencing Factors and Function of Children’s Problem Behavior

(Applied Research)
Stefanía Dögg Jóhannesdóttir (Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department of the National University Hospital of Iceland), ANNA-LIND PETURSDOTTIR (University of Iceland)

Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) interviews are convenient tools for discussing and identifying influencing factors of behavior problems. Findings from FBAs serve as an important foundation for effective interventions to reduce challenging behaviors of children with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties. Including these children as informants in the process can have important benefits for the FBA and intervention process. The present study compared information gathered from children with persistent behavior problems and their mothers. Participants were six patients at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Department of the National University Hospital of Iceland, (4 male and 2 female) with severe emotional and behavioral problems, aged 7 to 13 years, and their mothers. Results showed high agreement between the children and their mothers regarding the definition of target behavior, antecedents and consequences of problem behavior, medium agreement on function of the problem behavior and low agreement on setting events. Participants found the interview to be useful for better understanding the cause and function of the problem behavior. Findings indicate the importance of exploring different views of children and parents of behavior problems and their influencing factors.

Use of Descriptive Assessment and Correspondence to Functional Analysis: A Systematic Review
BETHANY P. CONTRERAS YOUNG (Middle Tennessee State University ), Savannah Tate (University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders), SungWoo Kahng (Rutgers University)
Abstract: Researchers and clinicians use assessment to identify the function of problem behavior in an effort to develop effective treatments. Two types of direct assessment are often used to identify function of problem behavior: descriptive assessment (DA) and functional analysis (FA). Some researchers have suggested that DA is not as accurate as FA (Thompson & Iwata, 2007), yet many practitioners continue to use DA as a primary method for identifying variables maintaining problem behavior (Roscoe et al., 2015). We are conducting a systematic literature review to identify the use of DA and the correspondence between results of DA and FA. We conducted a thorough search of the existing literature and included any articles that reported the methods and results of a DA for problem behavior. For articles that included both a DA and FA, we calculated agreement in function between the two assessments per participant. Data analysis is still underway, but thus far we have found that the results of DA corresponded with results of FA in 59% of cases. In 22% of cases, results of DA yielded completely different results than FA. We will conduct additional analyses, including Cohen’s Kappa, to further analyze the correspondence between DA and FA.

Function-Based Behavior Support to Improve Preschoolers´ Engagement, Behavior, and Well-Being

(Service Delivery)
ANNA-LIND PETURSDOTTIR (University of Iceland), Dadey Sigthorsdottir (University of Iceland), Erla Sveinbjornsdottir (University of Iceland )

Effective early intervention is crucial to reduce persistent behavior problems of preschoolers and improve their engagment and well-being. This study evaluated the effects of function-based behavior support plans (BSPs) on the long-lasting problem behavior and lack of engagement of five children in preschool activities. Participants were five boys, aged three to six years, in public preschools in the capital region of Iceland. One participant had been diagnosed with speech impediment and one was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Single-subject multiple baseline designs across participants showed that function-based BSPs reduced the frequency of disruptive behavior (on average by 95,3%) and increased active participation (on average by 175%). Improvements in behavior and engagement were maintained when token systems were faded. Teacher ratings of participants behavior on the Pre-School Behavior Checklist improved significantly. Also, participants´ self-assessment of their well-being showed that they were feeling much better in different activities in preschool. Semi-structured interviews conducted with teachers and parents revealed high social validity of the procedures. Findings support the effectiveness of function-based behavior support to reduce persistent behavior problems of preschoolers and improve their school adjustment and well-being.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh