Applied Behavior Analysis

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Currently, there are no published studies that have used the concurrent operant preference assessment procedure to identify functions of challenging behaviors displayed by individuals with comorbid diagnoses. Four participants (aged 11–16 years) with comorbid diagnoses who displayed multiple challenging behaviors were referred to this study. We modified the standard concurrent operant preference assessment and used the new modified version, the pictorial concurrent operant preference assessment, to identify the functions of the challenging behaviors. Utilizing the triangulation mixed-methods design, we compared the indirect functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and the direct FBA with the pictorial concurrent operant preference assessment. The results obtained successfully demonstrated the concordance among these assessments in identifying the behavioral function for each participant. The results further showed that (1) the preferences served the same functional effects on both the challenging behaviors and the adaptive behaviors and (2) the pictorial concurrent operant preference assessment can be used independently to identify potential behavioral function and to specify the reinforcing potency of each behavioral function. The significance of the study results, limitations of this study, and directions for future research and clinical practice are discussed.


pictorial concurrent operant preference assessment, functional behavior assessments, behavioral functions, challenging behaviors, comorbid diagnoses, adolescents




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