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J Appl Behav Anal. 1997 Summer;30(2):343-75.

Antecedent influences on behavior disorders.

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  • 1Department of Behavior Analysis, University of North Texas, Denton 76203, USA.


The influence of antecedent events on behavior disorders has been relatively understudied by applied behavior analysts. This lack of research may be due to a focus on consequences as determinants of behavior and a historical disagreement on a conceptual framework for describing and interpreting antecedent variables. We suggest that antecedent influences can be described using terms derived from basic behavioral principles and that their functional properties can be adequately interpreted as discriminative and establishing operations. A set of studies on assessment and treatment of behavior disorders was selected for review based on their relevance to the topic of antecedent events. These studies were categorized as focusing on assessment of antecedent events, antecedent treatments for behavior disorders maintained by either positive or negative reinforcement, and special cases of antecedent events in behavior disorders. Some directions for future research on antecedent influences in the analysis and treatment of behavior disorders are discussed.

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