The utility of a brief experimental analysis for problem behavior maintained by escape from demands

Jonathan D. Schmidt, Alison Shanholtzer, Nabil Mezhoudi, Bailey Scherbak, Sung Woo Kahng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Brief experimental analysis (BEA) is a useful tool for quickly evaluating intervention strategies for individuals with academic deficits and minor behavior problems. However, there is a lack of research investigating BEA for intervention strategies with individuals who emit severe problem behavior to avoid academic demands. For the current study, one participant with an intellectual disability and PDD-NOS was admitted to an inpatient unit for the assessment and treatment of severe aggressive and disruptive behavior. A functional analysis revealed the participant's problem behavior was maintained by escape from demands; a demand assessment showed subtraction problems were highly aversive. A brief experimental analysis of intervention strategies was conducted to assess the effects of five academic treatments on the participant's problem behavior and compliance with subtraction problems. The participant only refrained from emitting high rates of problem behavior when he had access to a number line. Treatment consisted of stimulus fading and differential reinforcement procedures. Results from a reversal indicated treatment effectiveness via an increase in accuracy and independent responding to subtraction problems, as well as a decrease in problem behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-247
Number of pages19
JournalEducation and Treatment of Children
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Academic compliance
  • Brief experimental analysis
  • Demand latency
  • Severe problem behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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