Behavior analytic approaches to problem behavior in intellectual disabilities

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose of review The purpose of the current review is to summarize recent behavior analytic research on problem behavior in individuals with intellectual disabilities. We have focused our review on studies published from 2013 to 2015, but also included earlier studies that were relevant. Recent findings Behavior analytic research on problem behavior continues to focus on the use and refinement of functional behavioral assessment procedures and function-based interventions. During the review period, a number of studies reported on procedures aimed at making functional analysis procedures more time efficient. Behavioral interventions continue to evolve, and there were several larger scale clinical studies reporting on multiple individuals. There was increased attention on the part of behavioral researchers to develop statistical methods for analysis of within subject data and continued efforts to aggregate findings across studies through evaluative reviews and meta-analyses. Summary Findings support continued utility of functional analysis for guiding individualized interventions and for classifying problem behavior. Modifications designed to make functional analysis more efficient relative to the standard method of functional analysis were reported; however, these require further validation. Larger scale studies on behavioral assessment and treatment procedures provided additional empirical support for effectiveness of these approaches and their sustainability outside controlled clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent opinion in psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • behavior analysis
  • functional behavioral assessment
  • intellectual disabilities
  • problem behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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