Evaluating the Resurgence of Problem Behavior with Three Functionally Equivalent Discriminated Operants
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The purpose of the current study was to replicate and extend previous research on the resurgence of three clinically relevant behaviors emitted by individuals with histories of problem behavior. Four school-aged children with intellectual and developmental disabilities were first exposed to a brief functional analysis to determine the maintaining variables of problem behavior. Participants then completed functional communication training, during which mands, including signing or hand raising and handing a picture to the researcher, were trained. Finally, participants were exposed to the following experimental conditions: (a) reinforcement of problem behavior with mands placed on extinction, (b) reinforcement of the first mand with problem behavior and the second mand placed on extinction, (c) extinction of all responses to test for the resurgence of problem behavior, (d) reinforcement of problem behavior with mands placed on extinction, (e) reinforcement of the second mand with problem behavior and the first mand placed on extinction, and (f) extinction of all responses to test for the resurgence of both problem behavior and the first mand. Results indicated that problem behavior resurged during extinction conditions across all participants, whereas a mand resurged for one of the four participants. These results support previous findings on the resurgence of problem behavior.
KeywordsBehavior analysis Extinction side effect Functional communication training Problem behavior Resurgence
This project was completed in partial fulfillment of the master’s degree from Saint Louis University by the first author.
The authors would like to thank Joel Ringdahl for his comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Author 1 (blind for review) declares she has no conflict of interest. Author 2 (blind for review) declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author 3 (blind for review) has no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed parental consent and participant assent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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