Date of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis



Committee Chair

Jordan Belisle


The study evaluated the relationship between participants derived relational responding across arbitrary stimuli and parent or teacher endorsed functions of challenging behavior as assessed on the Questions About Behavior Function (QABF). Supplemental analyses were conducted to directly observe the frequency and intensity of challenging behavior using the Challenging Behavior Index (CBI), as week as direct observation of presenting autism symptoms in session using the PEAK Autism Symptoms and Behavioral Observation Summary (PAS-BOS). Derived relational responding was assessed using the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Equivalence Pre-Assessment (PEAK-E-PA) and the Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge Transformation Pre-Assessment (PEAK-T-PA) taking from the PEAK Comprehensive Assessment (Dixon, 2019). Assessments were conducted across 34 individuals with autism or another intellectual disability. Relations between participants who can derive relations (ME+) and participants who cannot derive relations (ME-) and the ability of the QABF to identify a single function of behavior were significant 2 (1, N = 34) = 4.9, p = 0.026. When evaluating the relationship between PEAK Total Scores and the CBI Total Scores, results suggest there was a moderate negative relationship between the two r = -0.35, p ≤ 0.05. There was no relationship observed between measure of derived relational responding and autism symptom severity on the PAS-BOS r = -0.12, p ≥ 0.28. Results from this pilot investigation could be used to inform future research on the topic of derived relational responding and how it pertains to an individual’s scores on both indirect and direct challenging behavior assessments.


arbitrary stimuli, autism, relational responding, PEAK, CBI, PAS-BOS, challenging behavior

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


© Kaitlin N. Beason

Open Access

Included in

Psychology Commons