Functional assessment in behavioral consultation: A treatment utility study

Melissa Twernbold Schill, Thomas R. Kratochwill, Stephen N. Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The primary purpose of the study was to examine the utility of functional assessment in comparison to a technological approach to treatment. Specifically, we investigated the treatment utility of functional assessment within a behavioral consultation framework to determine the effect of different uses of assessment data on child treatment outcome. Participants consisted of 19 preschool children enrolled in a Head Start program who demonstrated social and/or behavioral problems in the classroom. Their classroom teachers participated in the study as consultees who received help from trained consultants in identifying target behaviors and implementing classroom-based interventions. Participants were randomly assigned to two conditions: a consultation approach utilizing functional assessment methods to develop individualized behavioral interventions, or a consultation approach that used nonfunctional analytic assessment methods and a standard treatment package of self-help materials. The outcomes of the individual consultation cases were analyzed with case study methodology to determine behavior change and, in general, consultation resulted in positive treatment outcomes that were moderate in magnitude. There were no significant differences found between the two groups on the outcomes variables of treatment effects, consumer satisfaction, or costs; however, consultants expressed a preference for using functional assessment methodology due to perceived improved consultation relationships. Consultees from both groups provided satisfactory treatment acceptability ratings and good overall ratings of satisfaction with consultation services. Implications regarding the generalizability of this study's results to other populations are discussed, as well as directions for further research in the areas of functional analysis and behavioral consultation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-140
Number of pages25
JournalSchool Psychology Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional assessment in behavioral consultation: A treatment utility study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this