Relationships between assessment and treatment within a behavioral perspective

  • Rosemery O. Nelson


Three alternative strategies to link assessment and treatment within a behavioral perspective are described. First is the functional analysis in which the maintaining variables of the target behavior are identified in assessment and modified in treatment. Although this strategy appears to be frequently successful based on positive treatment outcome, critical tests are seldom done: hypothesized functional analyses are not tested prior to intervention; nor is treatment outcome based on one functional analysis pitted against treatment outcome based on an alternative functional analysis. The second strategy is the keystone target behavior strategy. From among multiple possible target behaviors, one is selected for intervention that produces therapeutic response covariation. The third strategy is the diagnostic strategy. A treatment is selected for a particular client based on its overall success in treating a particular disorder. Empirical comparisons are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of these different strategies, linking assessment and treatment for different disorders.

Key words

assessment relation to treatment treatment selection functional analysis keystone behavior diagnosis utility in treatment selection 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemery O. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of North CarolinaGreensboro

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