Within-subject analysis of a prevention strategy for problem behavior

Tara A. Fahmie, Brian A. Iwata, Sarah C. Mead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Although decades of research on functional analysis methodology have identified common contingencies that maintain problem behavior and effective interventions, relatively little research has been conducted on strategies to prevent the initial development of problem behavior. We conducted a 2-part case study, the purposes of which were to illustrate the use of sensitivity tests as the bases for intervention (Study 1) and subsequently to assess the efficacy of a prevention strategy using a single-subject design (Study 2). Results showed that the sensitivity tests identified establishing operations that may set the occasion for the development of problem behavior and that interventions based on differential reinforcement prevented increases in the severity of problem behavior relative to untreated and control baselines. Benefits and limitations to this individualized approach to prevention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)915-926
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • differential reinforcement
  • functional analysis
  • prevention
  • problem behavior
  • single-subject design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology


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