Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The problem behaviors of self-injury, aggression, and stereotypies are among the most troubling and difficult to treat behaviors in individuals with intellectual disability (ID). One factor that has been implicated in the etiology and maintenance of problem behaviors in individuals with ID is adaptive skills deficits. However, the nature of the relationship between problem behaviors and adaptive skills deficits is not well understood. This relationship was assessed in two experiments. In Experiment 1, the researcher found an inverse, curvilinear relationship between problem behaviors (as identified by the Behavior Problems Inventory; BPI), and adaptive skills (as measured by the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale; VABS). In Experiment 1, the author also assessed the extent to which communication, socialization, and daily living skills predicted the presence of problem behaviors. The author found a significant multiple regression model that included all three domains, but the individual domains were not found to significantly predict problem behaviors independently. In Experiment 2, the researcher assessed whether specific adaptive behavior deficits (as measured by the VABS subscales) were differentially associated with the hypothesized functions maintaining problem behaviors, (i.e., social attention, access to tangible items, escape, physical pain, and nonsocial reinforcement), as measured by the Questions About Behavior Functions (QABF). The researcher found that individuals with a physical or nonsocial function engaged in significantly fewer communication, socialization, and daily living skills than the other groups. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Johnny L. Matson



Included in

Psychology Commons