Escape behavior in task situations: Task versus social antecedents

  • Jill C. Taylor
  • Mary M. Ekdahl
  • Raymond G. Romanczyk
  • Michelle L. Miller


We designed an investigation to differentiate two types of challenging behaviors occurring in teaching situations: those evoked by task stimuli (i.e., task avoidance), and those evoked by social stimuli present in teaching situations (i.e., social avoidance). Four students with developmental disabilities who exhibited challenging behaviors in teaching situations were exposed to social interaction in a play situation and task demands in a teaching situation. Results indicated that the students exhibited two distinct behavior patterns. Two of the students exhibited a behavior pattern consistent with task avoidance and the other two students exhibited a behavior pattern consistent with social avoidance. Implications concerning task versus social avoidance and the need for more fine-grained analyses of the stimuli associated with escape behavior are discussed.


Social Interaction School Psychology Behavior Pattern Developmental Disability Task Demand 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jill C. Taylor
    • 1
  • Mary M. Ekdahl
    • 2
  • Raymond G. Romanczyk
    • 2
  • Michelle L. Miller
    • 3
  1. 1.John Merck Multiple Disabilities Program, Outpatient ServicesWestern Psychiatric Institute and ClinicPittsburgh
  2. 2.State University of New York at BinghamtonUSA
  3. 3.Catholic UniversityUSA

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