Use of functional analysis methodology in the evaluation of medication effects

Kimberly A. Crosland, Jennifer R. Zarcone, Steven E. Lindauer, Maria G. Valdovinos, Troy J. Zarcone, Jessica A. Hellings, Stephen R. Schroeder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The atypical antipsychotic medication risperidone was evaluated using a double-blind, placebo-controlled design in the treatment of destructive behavior in two individuals with autism. Premedication functional analyses indicated that destructive behavior was maintained by escape from demands, attention, or access to tangible items. For both individuals, destructive behavior during the demand condition was significantly reduced during the medication phases, whereas destructive behavior continued to occur to obtain tangible items (Reggie) and attention (Sean). In addition, there appeared to be a differential effect of the medication on self-injurious behavior (SIB) versus aggression for Sean. Results of the study demonstrate how functional analysis may provide information on those conditions and behaviors that are most likely to be affected by a specific medication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-279
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Aggression
  • Autism
  • Functional analysis
  • Risperidone
  • Self-injurious behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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