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Health and Problem Behavior Among People With Intellectual Disabilities

Abstract

Good health significantly improves a person’s quality of life. However, people with intellectual disabilities disproportionately have more health problems than the general population. Further complicating the matter is that people with more severe disabilities often cannot verbalize health complications they are experiencing, which leads to health problems being undiagnosed and untreated. It is plausible these conditions can interact with reinforcement contingencies to maintain problem behavior because of the increased incidence of health problems among people with intellectual disabilities. This paper reviews common health problems influencing problem behavior and reinforcement processes. A clear implication of this review is the need for comprehensive functional assessments of problem behavior involving behavior analysts and health professionals.

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Correspondence to Michael E. May Ph.D. BCBA.

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May, M.E., Kennedy, C.H. Health and Problem Behavior Among People With Intellectual Disabilities. Behav Analysis Practice 3, 4–12 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03391759

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Keywords

  • functional assessment
  • health problems
  • intellectual disabilities
  • problem behavior