Relative influences of establishing operations and reinforcement contingencies on self-injurious behavior during functional analyses

April S. Worsdell, Brian A. Iwata, Juliet Conners, Sung Woo Kahng, Rachel H. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the typical functional analysis in which the antecedent and consequent events associated with problem behavior are manipulated, the control condition involves elimination of both the relevant establishing operation (EO) and its associated contingency through a schedule of noncontingent reinforcement (usually fixed-time [FT] 30 s). In some functional analyses, however, antecedent events are manipulated in the absence of differential consequences, and a common test condition in such analyses also involves the delivery of reinforcement on an FT 30-s schedule. Thus, the same schedule of reinforcement (FT 30 s) is not considered to be an EO in the former type of analysis but is considered to be an EO in the latter. We examined the relative influences of EOs and reinforcement contingencies on problem behavior by exposing 6 individuals who engaged in self-injurious behavior (SIB) to four combinations of functional analysis conditions: EO present/ contingency present, EO absent/contingency present, EO present/contingency absent, and EO absent/contingency absent. Results indicated that the only condition in which high rates of SIB were observed consistently was one in which the EO and the reinforcement contingency were both present. Implications of these results for the design of functional analysis test and control conditions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-461
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Volume33
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

Keywords

  • Establishing operation
  • Functional analysis
  • Self-injurious behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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