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Appl Res Ment Retard. 1986;7(2):203-21.

Analysis of environmental determinants of aggression and disruption in mentally retarded children.


This study evaluated methods for empirically identifying environmental determinants of aggressive and disruptive behavior in three developmentally delayed children. A variety of sessions conducted on an inpatient treatment unit were designed to stimulate contingencies maintaining aggression and disruption in the subjects' natural environments. The basic analog conditions included: instructional demands, contingent social disapproval, and structured play. In addition, variations of the three basic conditions were developed based on informal observation and parental reports of naturally occurring contingencies. Results showed considerable variability both between and within subjects. However, for each subject a specific analog condition was shown to produce relatively higher rates of aberrant behavior. Subsequently, behavioral treatments based on assessment results were successfully implemented with two of the subjects. Results are discussed in terms of the importance and practical limitations of conducting systematic assessment of aberrant repertoires in developmentally delayed clients.

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