Evaluation of a self-instructional manual to teach functional analysis to assess problem behaviours for persons with developmental disabilities
Functional analysis is an experimental method used to assess the environmental causes of behaviour by systematically manipulating the antecedents and consequences for that behaviour and observing their effects on the behaviour. The number of published studies on function analysis has increased as well as the number of studies that aimed to teach this procedure. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of a self-instructional manual on teaching university students and staff who work with people with developmental disabilities to conduct functional analysis as described by Iwata et al. (1982/1994). Specifically, I compared the effectiveness of a self-instructional manual to a procedural description of functional analysis described in the method section of the above paper. In Experiment 1, the self-instructional manual was evaluated using a concurrent multiple probe design across groups of three and two participants, totaling 11 participants. Participants received the method description during baseline, self-instructional manual during the intervention, and video modeling (for some participants) after the manual. Simulated assessments were conducted after each phase and a retention/generalization assessment was conducted after 1 to 4 weeks. Overall, mean correct performance across participants and conditions during simulated assessments were 73% after studying the method description, 92% after the self-instructional manual, and 94% correct after video modeling. Retention and generalization assessments (2 simulated and 7 client assessments) averaged 80% correct. In Experiment 2, the manual was modified based on the errors made in Experiment 1 and its efficacy was evaluated using a concurrent multiple probe design across two participants, and a concurrent multiple probe design across functional analysis conditions replicated across five participants. Overall, mean correct performance across participants and conditions during simulated assessments were 58% after studying the method description, 88% after the self-instructional manual, and 95% correct after video modeling. Retention and generalization assessments (2 simulated and 7 client assessments) averaged 91% correct. The results suggest that the self-instructional manual shows promise and further research is warranted.
Functional analysis, self-instructional manual, behavioural assessment