Efficacy of a systematic process for designing function-based interventions for adults in a community setting

Martha A. Underwood, John Umbreit, Carl Liaupsin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study examined the efficacy of a systematic process for matching behavioral interventions to assessed function(s) of problem behavior with adults with developmental disabilities in a community-based day program. Previous applications of the technique were found to be effective with school-age students in classroom settings. Participants were three adults (ages 48-63) with developmental disabilities who displayed long-standing inappropriate social interactions. The study was conducted in two phases. In Phase 1, descriptive FBAs were conducted. Each FBA included structured interviews and direct observations that were used to identify the functions of target behaviors. In Phase 2, function-based interventions were systematically constructed for each participant, and then implemented for an extended period (8 weeks) within ongoing activities at their day program. The mean response rates of appropriate social interaction increased immediately when intervention was introduced, whereas the mean response rates of inappropriate social interaction decreased. Data on treatment integrity (level of implementation) were collected for every session and documented that the interventions were implemented with high levels of fidelity. In addition, staff gave the function-based interventions high acceptability ratings, indicating they viewed the interventions as socially valid and preferable to the procedures they used before intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-38
Number of pages14
JournalEducation and Training in Developmental Disabilities
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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