Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Peterson

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan Poling

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Wendy Berg


Functional analysis, concurrent operant analysis, discrete trial concurrent chains arrangement


It is recommended that a functional analysis (FA) be conducted before treating serious problem behaviors. However, it is not always feasible or desirable to do so. For example, the problem behavior may be too dangerous, or the setting may not allow procedures that evoke problem behavior. An alternative solution may be to identify reinforcers for adaptive behavior in order to develop a treatment plan to reduce problem behavior by increasing socially appropriate/adaptive behavior. Berg et al. (2007) evaluated whether the same social events identified as reinforcers for adaptive behavior by a concurrent operant (i.e., choice) analysis (COA) would be identical to those identified by a traditional FA. They found that the FA and COA did in fact identify the same social reinforcers for both problem and adaptive behavior for the majority of participants. These findings suggest that COAs could be an effective alternative when FAs are not feasible. Although Berg and colleagues provided anecdotal evidence that the COA identified effective treatments, no empirical data were presented on treatment effectiveness. The purpose of the current study was to replicate the study conducted by Berg et al. (Study 1) and extend it to evaluate children’s preferences for FA and COA methods (Study 2). A final purpose was to implement function-based treatments to evaluate the extent to which the FA and COA results accurately inform treatment (Study 3).

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access