Abstract

During functional analysis (FA), therapists arrange contingencies between potential reinforcers and problem behavior. It is unclear whether this fact, in and of itself, facilitates problem behavior's acquisition of new (false-positive) functions. If problem behavior can come under the control of contingencies contrived between it and known reinforcers for which there is no direct history, then outcomes of reinforcer analysis (RA) should perfectly predict FA outcomes. This study evaluated the degree to which RA outcomes corresponded with FA outcomes for eight participants referred to a university-based outpatient clinic for problem behavior. For 75% (6 of 8) of participants, correspondence was imperfect. These findings appear to support the construct validity of contemporary interpretations of FA data.

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