State Definitions of Behavior Disorders

Michael H. Epstein, Douglas Cullinan, David A. Sabatino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article was to survey state departments of education regarding their definitions of behavior disorders. Forty-nine state definitions were analyzed based on their alignment to 11 criteria components. The data indicated a wide discrepancy between the states as to what constitutes a behavior disorder. The results are discussed in terms of the shortcomings of many of the definitions and in terms of the changes which have occurred in state definitions over the years. Specific recommendations regarding the need to operationalize the definitions are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-425
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Special Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1977


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Rehabilitation

Cite this

Epstein, M. H., Cullinan, D., & Sabatino, D. A. (1977). State Definitions of Behavior Disorders. Journal of Special Education, 11(4), 417-425.