Functional variables of challenging behavior in individuals with intellectual disabilities

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Research suggests that different types of challenging behavior (CB) may be maintained by different contingencies of reinforcement. In this study, we examined functional variables for nine types of CB (physical aggression, verbal aggression, self-injury, tantrums, non-compliance, property destruction, disruptive behavior, stereotypes and inappropriate verbal behavior) in 300 people with intellectual disabilities. The Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) instrument was administered to 183 direct care staff members to assess a total of 328 challenging behaviors. Results of non-parametric analyses distinguished significant differences across behavioral functions. CBs associated with each subscale of the QABF were identified. Results were consistent with previous research, stereotypic behavior was scored significantly higher across the non-social functions measured by the QABF, whereas other types of CB (such as aggressive behavior) were scored significantly higher across social functions. The results of this study extend the literature on this issue, and implications for future research and direct care professionals are discussed.

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Research in developmental disabilities

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