Multiple versus single maintaining factors of challenging behaviours as assessed by the QABF for adults with intellectual disabilities

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BACKGROUND: The Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) correctly identifies maintaining variables of challenging behaviour. However, for adults who have a long history of challenging behaviours, identifying one clear function of the maladaptive behaviour is difficult. Additionally, the person may develop multiple functions of their maladaptive behaviour. METHOD: Characteristics of single versus multiple maintaining factors were evaluated using the QABF for 88 adults with intellectual disabilities (ID). The reliability of single versus multiple maintaining factors for aggression and self-injurious behaviour was analysed. Multiple factors were analysed in terms of type of maintaining factors, and their order of importance by challenging behaviour was noted. RESULTS: The majority of behaviours examined were maintained by multiple functions. Reliability was higher for behaviours with a single maintaining variable when compared to behaviours with multiple maintaining variables. CONCLUSION: These data appear to have implications for aetiology, assessment, and treatment of challenging behaviours in individuals with ID.

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Journal of intellectual & developmental disability

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