Chapter 20: Behavioural assessment: initial considerations
Behavioural assessment: the collection and analysis of information and data to (a) ID and describe target b; (b)
ID the causes of the b; (c) select appropriate treatment strategies to mod the b; and (d) evaluate treatment
Minimal phases of a program – usually 4 phases:
1) Screening or intake phase: initial client-practitioner interaction where client typically completes intake form
(name, address DOB, marital stat etc). 5 functions:
a) Determine if an agency of bmodifier is the right to one deal w/ the potential client’s behaviour. If not,
recommend the right one.
b) Inform the client about the agencies/practitioner’s service provision’s policies and procedures
c) Screens for crisis condition (child abuse, suicide risk, etc) that req. immediate intervention.
d) To get sufficient info through client interview an psych tests to diagnose the client according to
standardized categories of mental disorders (i.e DSMIVTR)
i) For example, an insurance company may need a diagnosis before paying for the treatment.
e) Give specific info about the target behaviour(s). This is done by use info gathered from above and I-data,
tests, and assessment devices.
2) Preprogram assessment phase: (1) assessment of target b to determine its level prior to the introduction of
the program/treatment and (2) analysis of the client’s current environment to ID possible controlling
variables of the target B.
a) A baseline of the target b is required in order to see if the program/treatment is actually working
3) Treatment phase: In educational settings = training/teaching program; In clinical settings = intervention
strategy or therapy program in.
a) After preprogram assessment, practitioner designs a program to change the target b into desired b.
b) Frequent observation and monitoring of target b occurs
i) Traditional educational practices use periodic assessment during teaching program to monitor
ii) Clinical treatments use client assessments at various intervals
c) Emphasis on behaviour monitoring and changing the program if the measurements taken indicate the
target b is not changing within a reasonable period of time.
4) Follow-up phase: determines if the improvements achieved during the treatment are maintained after the
program has ended.
a) If possible, consists of precise obs/assessment in the natural environment or under circumstances in
which the b is expected to occur.
Sources of Information for Preprogram Assessment – 3 categories: indirect, direct, and experimental.
Indirect assessment Procedures: indirectly observing target behaviour when direct observation is impractical.
1. Interviews w/ clients and significant others
describes the types of problem he/she works with;
asks about client’s background or give a simple demographic referral form;
has client describe what the problem is (ref. Table 20-1)
keep a welcoming environment to keep client at ease and to gain info on the problem
try to make and maintain a relationship w/ client and significant others
done by being attentive to client’s problem description
not expressing personal values that will influence the client
showing empathy by showing an understanding of their feelings
emphasizing client-therapist confidentiality
B-therapists tend to focus discussion on the specific problematic behaviour by asking questions about it
and its controlling variables
Therapist will then:
Help client ID major problem areas Select 1-2 problem areas for treatment focus
Translate the problem into specific b deficits or excesses
ID controlling V(s) of problem b
ID some specific b objectives for treatment
2. Questionnaires- some popular ones among b-therapists are:
Life history questionnaires: gives demographic data (e.g. marital status) and background data (e.g.
sexual, health, ed. Histories). E.G The Multimodal Life History Inventory
Self-report problem checklist: Client checkmarks all the problem which applies to them.
Eg) Behavioural self-rating checklist . examples (20-1)
What seems to be the problem?
Can you describe what you typically say or do when you experience the prob?
How often does the prob occur?
For how long has the prob been occurring?
In what situations does it occur? What sets it off?
What tends to occur immediately after you experience the prob?
What are you typically thinking and feeling when the problem occurs?
How have you tried to deal with the problem thus far?
Survey schedules: gives therapist info needed to conduct a therapeutic technique w/ a client
Eg) Fig. 3-3 gives info useful in applying positive reinforcement procedures
Third-party behavioural checklists or rating scales: informants subjectively assess the f and quality of
certain client behaviours.
Eg) objective behavioural assessment of the severely and moderately mentally handicapped: The
Lets 3 -party informants’ rate if the client can do a variety of tasks.
3. Roleplaying: recreating a situation so the target b can be observable if its unfeasible to do so in the actual
situation it occurs in.
Client and therapist enact interpersonal interactions related to the client’s problem
Used in assessing and treating a problem
4. Info from consulting professionals
If other professionals have dealt w/ the client in any way related to the problem, the therapist should
get relevant info from them.
Their problem might be medically related so info from a physician can help but only if the client allows
this information to be shared
5. Client self-monitoring: direct observation by the client of their own b
It is indirect because the therapist doesn’t directly observe the behaviour
Except for covert behaviour, behaviours that might be self-monitored are the same as those that a
trained observer would observe directly
Can help discover the causes of a problem behaviour