Functional analysis is the most precise method of identifying variables that maintain self-injurious
behavior (SIB), and its use may lead to more effective treatment. One criticism and potential
limitation of a functional analysis is that it may unnecessarily expose individuals to a higher risk of
injury (Betz&Fisher, 2011). The purpose of this study was to determine if there were higher levels
and severity of injury during the functional analysis than outside the functional analysis. We
conducted a retrospective records review of 99 participants admitted to an inpatient unit for the
treatment of SIB. The results showed that injury rates were relatively low across all situations and
that when injuries occurred, they were usually not severe. These findings suggest that the
functional analysis of SIB is relatively safe when appropriate precautions are taken.
Anne Catherine Denning is a BCBA and an ACE (Approved Continuing Education) Provider with Consultants for Children, Inc. approved by the BACB.
Anne has a passion for improving the quality of providers in the Autism Intervention category and is a Behavior Analyst. She leads cases and supervises RBTs, BCaBAs and BCBAs and keeps her content material relevant and based on recent research.