The Frequency of Behavior Analysis in School Psychology Literature: a Review of 20 Years

Abstract

Although assessment for special education services continues to be a primary role of school psychologists, an increased role in behavioral assessment and treatment has been noted over time. This indicates a need for behavior analytic research within the school psychology literature. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the frequency of articles consistent with the theories and practices of applied behavior analysis published in four school psychology journals between 2000 and 2020. A total of 2765 original research articles were reviewed by looking for the presence of ABA focused content within the title or abstract. Results indicate that only 5.5% of articles (n=153) had a primary focus reflective of ABA theory or practice. These data were lower than would have been expected given the current job roles reported by practicing school psychologists.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Data Availability

The datasets generated during and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

References

  1. Alper, T. G., & White, O. R. (1971). Precision teaching: A tool for the school psychologist and teacher. Journal of School Psychology, 9(4), 445–454. https://doi.org/10.1016/0022-4405(71)90037-9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ardoin, S. P., Wagner, L., & Bangs, K. E. (2016). Applied behavior analysis: A foundation for response to intervention. In S. R. Jimerson, M. K. Burns, & A. M. VanDerHeyden (Eds.), Handbook of response to intervention: The science and practice of multi-tiered systems of support., 2nd ed. (pp. 29–42). Springer Science + Business Media. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7568-3_3.

  3. Bahr, M. W., Leduc, J. D., Hild, M. A., Davis, S. E., Summers, J. K., & McNeal, B. (2017). Evidence for the expanding role of consultation in the practice of school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 54(6), 581–595. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22020.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Benson, N. F., Floyd, R. G., Kranzler, J. H., Eckert, T. L., Fefer, S. A., & Morgan, G. B. (2019). Test use and assessment practices of school psychologists in the United States: Findings from the 2017 National Survey. Journal of School Psychology, 72, 29–48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2018.12.004.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Binder, C., & Watkins, C. L. (2013). Precision teaching and direct instruction: Measurably superior instructional technology in schools. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 73–115. https://doi.org/10.1002/piq.21145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bloom, S. E., Iwata, B. A., Fritz, J. N., Roscoe, E. M., & Carreau, A. B. (2011). Classroom Application of a Trial-Based Functional Analysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(1), 19–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Bramlett, R. K., Murphy, J. J., Johnson, J., & Wallingsford, L. (2002). Contemporary practices in school psychology: A national survey of roles and referral problems. Psychology in the Schools, 39(3), 327–335. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.10022.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis (3rd ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.

  9. Dufrene, B. A., Kazmerski, J. S., & Labrot, Z. (2017). The current status of indirect functional assessment instruments. Psychology in the Schools, 54(4), 331–350. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Fan, C.-H., Denner, P. R., Bocanegra, J. O., & Ding, Y. (2016). School psychologists’ willingness to implement RtI: The role of philosophical and practical readiness. Contemporary School Psychology, 20(4), 383–391. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-016-0096-8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Galanaugh, L. A. (2018). An investigation of the factors contributing to job satisfaction related to the role of a school psychologist. In Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering. ProQuest Information & Learning Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/2108948439?fromunauthdoc=true.

  12. Hanley, G. P., Jin, C. S., Vanselow, N. R., & Hanratty, L. A. (2014). Producing meaningful improvements in problem behavior of children with autism via synthesized analyses and treatments. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47(1), 16–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hicks, T. B., Shahidullah, J. D., Carlson, J. S., & Palejwala, M. H. (2014). Nationally certified school psychologists’ use and reported barriers to using evidence-based interventions in schools: The influence of graduate program training and education. School Psychology Quarterly, 29(4), 469–487. https://doi.org/10.1037/spq0000059.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  14. Jessel, J., Hanley, G. P., & Ghaemmaghami, M. (2016). Interview-informed synthesized contingency analyses: thirty replications and reanalysis. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 49(3), 576–595. https://doi.org/10.1002/jaba.316.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Johnson, A. H., Goldberg, T. S., Hinant, R. L., & Couch, L. K. (2018). Trends and practices in functional behavior assessments completed by school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 56, 360–377. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.22191.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Liu, S., & Oakland, T. (2016). The emergence and evolution of school psychology literature: A scientometric analysis from 1907 through 2014. School Psychology Quarterly, 31(1), 104–121. https://doi.org/10.1037/spq0000141.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. McNamara, K. M., Walcott, C. M., Hyson, D., Goforth, A., & Rossen, E. (2019). Results from the NASP 2015 Membership Survey, part two: Professional practices in school psychology. NASP Research Reports, 4(1), 1–14.

    Google Scholar 

  18. O’Neill, R. E., Bundock, K., Kladis, K., & Hawken, L. S. (2015). Acceptability of functional behavioral assessment procedures to special educators and school psychologists. Behavioral Disorders, 41(1), 51–66.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Reed, D. D. (2008). The translation of basic behavioral research to school psychology: A citation analysis. The Behavior Analyst Today, 9(2), 143–149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Runyon, K., Stevens, T., Roberts, B., Whittaker, R., Clark, A., Chapman, C. K., & Boggs-Lopez, M. (2018). The role of self-efficacy and autonomy support in school psychologists’ use of ABA. Contemporary School Psychology, 22(1), 51–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Shapiro, E. S., & Heick, P. F. (2004). School psychologist assessment practices in the evaluation of students referred for social/behavioral/emotional problems. Psychology in the Schools, 41(5), 551–561. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.10176.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Shaw, S. R. (2016). Research to practice in school psychology: Challenges ahead and the role of NASP’s “school psychology forum”. School Psychology Forum, 10(4), 340–348.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Sullivan, A. L., Long, L., & Kucera, M. (2011). A survey of school psychologists’ preparation, participation, and perceptions related to positive behavior interventions and supports. Psychology in the Schools, 48(10), 971–985.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Thomason-Sassi, J. L., Iwata, B. A., Neidert, P. L., & Roscoe, E. M. (2011). Response latency as an index of response strength during functional analyses of problem behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44(1), 51–67.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Tincani, M. J., Castrogiavanni, A., & Axelrod, S. (1999). A comparison of the effectiveness of brief versus traditional functional analyses. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 20(5), 327–338. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0891-4222(99)00014-1.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Vargas, J. S. (2020). Behavior analysis for effective teaching: Third edition. Routledge.

  27. Villarreal, V., Gonzalez, J. E., McCormick, A. S., Simek, A., & Yoon, H. (2013). Articles published in six school psychology journals from 2005-2009: Where’s the intervention research? Psychology in the Schools, 50(5), 500–519. https://doi.org/10.1002/pits.21687.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Vollmer, T. R., & Northup, J. (1997). Applied behavior analysis and school psychology: An introduction to the mini-series. School Psychology Quarterly, 12(1), 1–3. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0088942.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Walcott, C. M., Hyson, D., McNamara, K., & Charvat, J. L. (2018). Results from the NASP 2015 Membership Survey, part one: Demographics and employment conditions. NASP Research Reports, 3(1), 1–17.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Wilczynski, S. M., Thompson, K. F., Beatty, T. M., & Sterling-Turner, H. E. (2002). The role of behavior analysis in school psychology. The Behavior Analyst Today, 3, 198–202. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0099965.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Code Availability

N/A

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frank R. Cicero.

Ethics declarations

Ethics Approval

No human or animal participants were used in the current research. The current work is a literature review of pre-existing published studies. Human rights approval and informed consent were not required.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Cicero, F.R., Luczaj, P., Younger, A. et al. The Frequency of Behavior Analysis in School Psychology Literature: a Review of 20 Years. Contemp School Psychol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40688-021-00385-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • School psychology
  • Behavior analysis
  • ABA
  • Publication trends