Function-Based Interventions for Young Children with Challenging Behavior: A Review of Quality and a Meta-analysis of the Single-Case Research Literature
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Large number of young children between the ages 3 and 5 years engages in challenging behaviors that affects their learning, social, and emotional development. Two studies were carried out to evaluate the strength of evidence and the overall effectiveness for function-based interventions (FBIs) to address young children’s challenging behavior in early childhood settings. The first study consisted of a systematic literature review to determine if FBIs could be considered an evidence-based practice. Twenty-four single-subject research design studies met the inclusion criteria and were coded for key descriptive features. The review applied the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) quality indicators and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) to the FBIs’ literature. Results indicated that FBIs could be considered an evidence-based practice to address young children’s challenging behavior based on the WWC quality indicators and a potentially evidence-based practice based on the CEC standards. Several strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations to improve the quality of the FBIs’ literature were discussed. The second study consisted of a meta-analysis of the single-case research to examine the overall effectiveness of the FBIs and analyze the results across six potential moderators related to the participants’ and the intervention characteristics. Tau-U effect size index was used to determine the overall effectiveness of the FBIs. Results indicated that FBIs could effectively be used to reduce challenging behaviors in early childhood settings regardless of the intensity, function of the behavior, or intervention agent. Multicomponent and antecedent-based interventions resulted in better outcomes when compared to consequence-based interventions. Implications for research and practice were discussed.
What Works Clearinghouse
Council for Exceptional Children
Zaini, Samar Jameel (2016). Function-Based Interventions for Young Children with Challenging Behavior: A Review of Quality and a Meta-analysis of the Single-Case Research Literature. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from