Maryland Positive Behavior Support Training

Develop a Summary Statement for the FBA

Once Andy and his team finished the gathering data, they summarized the findings to describe the function maintaining Andy’s challenging behavior. This visual shows the major elements of a hypothesis statement. So far, Andy’s team has learned more about the antecedents, the behavior, and the consequences by using a scatter plot and ABC Chart. However, Andy and his team also need to think about whether any setting events may be occurring.

A setting event precedes challenging behavior and can change the reinforcers in a person’s life. Setting events can be inside a person, they can be related to people, or they might be linked to the physical setting. For instance, if Andy has spent a lot of time alone, he may be more likely to seek out attention from others. Andy sometimes engages in challenging behavior as a way to reach out to other people. 

Flow chart with four columns. The first column is: Setting events such as: internal events, social physical setting.  Second column is: Antecedents or "Triggers". Write down what occurs immediately before challenging behavior. Third column: Behavior - Clear definition of challenging behavior that can be measured. Consequences, Reactions or Results. What occurs after the behavior? What is the Function? Obtain or Escape?

Adapted from Freeman, R., Matthews, K., Griggs, P., & Quick, S. (2013). Functional behavioral assessment. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Schiefelbusch Institute for Lifespan Studies.

The following setting events are commonly associated with challenges for many people:

  • Allergies or illness
  • Death of important people or traumatic events
  • Presence (or absence) of people
  • Certain types of settings (loud/noisy, hot/cold temperatures, places that have a lot of people or where no one is around)
  • Inability to predict what is happening

The team will continue to collect direct observation data until they are confident that the hypothesis statement is correct.