Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Third Advisor

Dr. Alyce Dickinson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Richard Malott


assessment, analysis, function, treatment


Functional behavior assessment (FBA) has been identified as an essential process for behavior analytic practitioners to identify the variables maintaining challenging behaviors (BACB Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts (PECC), 3.01ab, 2014). FBAs include a range of strategies, including indirect measures (e.g., interviews and questionnaires) and direct measures of behavior (descriptive and experimental strategies). Functional analysis (FA) is typically considered the most sophisticated of the options subsumed under FBAs in that it involves both direct measures of behavior and experimental manipulation of hypothesized controlling variables to identify controlling variables for challenging behaviors. The results of FAs allow practitioners to match treatments to these unique controlling variables and select functional replacement behaviors for individuals. This two-part study identifies the essential components of FAs and reports on the degree to which behavior analysis practitioners are completing the expert recommended components of an FA. In the first study, nationally known experts in functional analysis (FA), were interviewed in an effort to identify the essential components of FAs. In the second study, Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) and BCBA-Ds were surveyed regarding the extent to which they utilized the “expert recommended” FA components from the first study in their regular practice. The results of the study indicate practitioners are utilizing most of the components rated as essential by experts and additionally may be engaging in components that are not recommended as essential by experts.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access