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Res Dev Disabil. 2013 Sep;34(9):2734-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2013.05.038. Epub 2013 Jun 19.

Using ABC narrative recording to identify the function of problem behavior: a pilot study.

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École de psychoeducation, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada.


Many professionals report using ABC narrative recording to identify the function of problem behavior in children with developmental disabilities, but research has not established whether their analyses yield valid results. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine whether the function identified by expert reviewers using ABC narrative recordings would match the one identified by a functional analysis (FA) and the Questions About Behavioral Function (QABF) scale in four children with developmental disabilities. The functions identified by all twelve experts using the ABC narrative recordings matched at least one of the functions identified by the FA for three of four participants. The experts' analyses also agreed with the informant-based assessment at a statistically significant level for two of three participants with a conclusive QABF. Altogether, the results suggest that ABC narrative recording may be useful to generate hypotheses to identify the function of problem behavior, but that more research is needed before recommending its use as a standalone functional behavior assessment.


ABC narrative recording; Descriptive assessment; Functional analysis; Indirect assessment; Problem behavior; QABF

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