Evaluations of heart rate during functional analyses of destructive behavior

Liam H. McCabe, Brian D. Greer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Previous research has examined the predictive validity of heart rate on destructive behavior; however, such research has yet to improve clinical practice or enhance our understanding of the relation between physiology and destructive behavior. The purpose of this study was to examine the predictive validity of heart rate on varying topographies and functions of destructive behavior while controlling antecedent and consequent events through functional analysis. We first demonstrated the reliability of the Polar H10 heart rate monitor and assessed the feasibility of its use in simulated functional analysis sessions. However, across four consecutively enrolled patients, heart rate was not found to be a reliable predictor of destructive behavior, regardless of its topography or function. Instead, functional reinforcer presence and absence was sufficient to predict socially reinforced destructive behavior. This study may provide a framework for the future assessment of other biological measures in relation to destructive behavior occurrence and nonoccurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)777-786
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • biomarker
  • destructive behavior
  • functional analysis
  • heart rate
  • physiological arousal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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