A systematic review of brief functional analysis methodology with typically developing children

Andrew W. Gardner, Trina D. Spencer, Eric W. Boelter, Melanie Dubard, Heather K. Jennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Brief functional analysis (BFA) is an abbreviated assessment methodology derived from traditional extended functional analysis methods. BFAs are often conducted when time constraints in clinics, schools or homes are of concern. While BFAs have been used extensively to identify the function of problem behavior for children with disabilities, their utility with typically developing children has been questioned. This systematic review evaluates empirical studies, in which BFAs were employed with typically developing children to identify function of problem behavior. Twelve articles were reviewed and coded for quality indicators based on specific single-subject design criteria. Nine studies were considered to have acceptable quality and were summarized according to practice dimensions such as settings, therapists, problem behavior, and behavioral functions. Results suggest that BFA meets the standards for an empirically supported assessment methodology for typically developing children. Evidence is strongest for parents and teachers to serve as therapists when disruptive behavior is of concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-332
Number of pages20
JournalEducation and Treatment of Children
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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