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Escape behavior during academic tasks: a preliminary analysis of idiosyncratic establishing operations.

  • J McComas
  • H Hoch
  • D Paone
  • D El-Roy
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
  • Mathematics


The presence or absence of idiosyncratic stimuli has been demonstrated to predictably alter the occurrence of problem behavior. By specifying stimuli related to negatively reinforced behavior during academic tasks, it may be possible to identify methods of instruction that decrease the occurrence of problem behavior. The current study used a four-step procedure that involved a functional analysis, descriptive assessment, establishing operations (EO) analysis, and follow-up evaluation (a) to identify the operant function of destructive behavior and (b) to evaluate the effects of idiosyncratic features of academic task demands and related methods of instruction on the occurrence of negatively reinforced destructive behavior of 3 boys with developmental disabilities and autism in a classroom setting. The data suggest that the four-step procedure was effective in identifying methods of instruction that decreased the likelihood of destructive behavior without disrupting the maintaining contingencies for destructive behavior. Results are discussed in terms of establishing operations for negatively reinforced destructive behavior during academic tasks and related methods of instruction in classroom settings.

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