Date of Award

1997

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Timothy R. Vollmer

Abstract

In 1982, Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman developed a systematic assessment method to identify the operant functions of self-injurious behavior. In this study, the Iwata et al., method was used to assess the operant functions of aggression displayed by children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. Although researchers have demonstrated that aggression serves operant functions, there has been no comprehensive analysis of aggression using the Iwata et al. method. Twelve children and adolescents participated. The experimental conditions from the Iwata et al. method were replicated (i.e., attention, instructional demand, play, no interaction); also, a tangible positive reinforcement condition was included in some cases. Results for 11 of the 12 participants identified clear operant functions (positive or negative reinforcement) for aggression. For one child, subsequent analyses suggested that aggression was sensitive to peer attention. Results are discussed in terms of incorporating an operant model into more general discussions of aggression.

ISBN

9780591591651

Pages

90

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