Elimination of Problem Behavior at Work Through an Assessment-Based Antecedent Intervention

John Umbreit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Maria, a 26-year-old young woman with severe retardation, worked in a sheltered workshop. About a month before the study began, Maria started urinating in her pants during each of the three regularly scheduled breaktimes that occurred each day. Maria wet herself only during breaks and, according to her mother, never wet herself at home. Assessment and intervention involved a two-phase study. Phase 1 (functional assessment) included structured interviews and observations, hypothesis development, and hypothesis testing within ongoing activities at work. This process identified that Maria's wetting was attention-motivated. During Phase 2 (intervention), attention was provided frequently while Maria helped a staff member complete routine breaktime activities (e.g., setting up new tasks). This intervention completely eliminated Maria's wetting. Furthermore, the effect occurred immediately, lasted for at least several months, and was easily incorporated into ongoing routines within the workshop. Equally important, the intervention received very high treatment acceptability ratings from all three of the staff who were responsible for its implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalEducation and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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