Ethical issues in functional behavior assessment.

Jennifer Austin, Stephanie M. Peterson, Amanda Mahoney, Marc Weeden, Alan Poling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Functional behavioral assessment (FBA) refers to a range of methods designed to identify the environmental contingencies surrounding problematic behaviors. This chapter explores some of the ethical issues surrounding the use of FBA with particular populations and in particular settings. Our goal is not to dictate what is the right or wrong course in any one of the many decisions that must be made throughout the FBA process. Instead, we aim to identify applications of the analysis procedures that can give rise to important questions that behavior analysts should consider carefully. We begin our discussion with considerations regarding what might be considered “traditional” uses of FA; in other words, using FA to identify maintaining variables for self-injurious behavior (SIB) of individuals with developmental disabilities. We then discuss additional ethical considerations when expanding FBA to a broader range of populations and settings, using school-based FBA as an exemplar.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFunctional Assessment for Challenging Behaviors
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jun 2012


  • functional behaviour assessment
  • behaviour analysis
  • ethics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethical issues in functional behavior assessment.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this