The influence of antecedents and consequences on the occurrence of bizarre speech in individuals with dementia

Maranda A. Trahan, Jeanne M. Donaldson, Matthew K. Mcnabney, Sungwoo Kahng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We conducted a series of assessments to determine the differential effects of common antecedents and consequences that can influence the occurrence of bizarre speech in three women with moderate to severe dementia. First, a traditional functional analysis was conducted to assess the function of bizarre speech. After results revealed differentially higher levels of bizarre speech during control sessions, an antecedent analysis was conducted. During this second assessment, all consequences were held constant, and only the antecedents (i.e., open-ended questions, yes/no questions, and comments) were altered. Bizarre speech was differentially higher when open-ended questions were presented, replicating previous studies. The final assessment conducted was a modified functional analysis to further assess the effects of consequences on bizarre speech. More typical consequences were assessed, including two tests for a positive function (attention in the form of correction and attention in the form of following along) and two tests for a negative function (a break from one question and a break from all questions). Results consistently revealed that antecedents produced greater differentiation in responding than social consequences. These findings provide evidence that behavioral assessments may need to be modified to better capture the relevant environmental variables that influence problem behavior in individuals with dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-303
Number of pages18
JournalBehavioral Interventions
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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