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Functional Analysis of Behavior in Corrections: Empowering Inmates in Skills Training Groups

NCJ Number
Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim Treatment and Prevention Volume: 1 Issue: 4 Dated: 2008 Pages: 42-51
Susan Sampl; Sara Wakai; Robert L. Trestman; Edward Michael Keeney
Date Published
10 pages

Clinical explanation, tips, and examples are provided regarding the application of functional analysis within skills training groups, focusing on situations incarcerated offenders are likely to face.


Functional analysis is designed to improve the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral treatment. Functional analysis involves identifying the sequence of an antecedent stimulus (A), a behavior (B), and that behavior's consequences (C) (Nevin & Mace, 1994; Welches & Pica, 2005). Functional analysis has been incorporated as a fundamental skill within a group-based coping skills training program for offenders, START NOW (Sample & Trestman, 2007). Participating inmates learn to use the ABC system to break down, understand, and manage their behavior.