Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2023

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science


Health Professions

Committee Member(s)

Kara Wunderlich, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Stephanie Trauschke, PsyD, BCBA-D

Chandler Pelfrey, MA, BCBA

Supervising Faculty Member

Kara Wunderlich, Ph.D., BCBA-D


The functional analysis (FA) methodology is the gold standard of functional assessments to inform function-based interventions in applied behavior analysis. Behavior analysts report underuse of the FA methodology in clinical practice due to lack of time and resources and safety concerns. The trial-based FA (TBFA) is a brief form of the FA that is conducted in the natural environment and to date has mainly been conducted in classrooms. When compared with a standard FA, TBFAs take less consecutive time to complete, there are fewer instances of maladaptive behavior, data collection is simpler, and data analysis requires less expertise. The current study conducted TBFAs in a clinic setting and assessed social validity with behavior analysts. Results show that TBFAs identified a function maintaining problem behavior for 3/3 participants and function-based intervention was effective at reducing problem behavior. Results of social validity surveys show TBFAs combat some common concerns such as time and behavior analysts report intended use of TBFAs in the future. Together, this information expands the literature on TBFAs to a clinic setting and shows the feasibility and usability of TBFAs in clinical practice to inform function-based interventions.

Rights Holder

Cayla Thomas