An Analysis of Trends Regarding Proactive and Ecologically Valid Interventions in Applied Research


Over the last two decades, considerable attention has been devoted to the potential of functional assessment and antecedent-based interventions, as well as to the importance of ecological validity in the evaluation of intervention practices. However, despite this increased interest, it is not clear to what degree trends in intervention research over the past two decades have mirrored this discussion. The current investigation was derived from a database of intervention research from the last 22 years across developmental as well as behavioral disabilities. The study was designed to ascertain to what degree the research literature is reflecting the increased interest in assessment and antecedent-based interventions, and to what extent it is achieving ecological validity by including the participation of typical intervention agents and settings. The results confirm anticipated increases in assessment and antecedent-based interventions, but fail to show evidence of overall increases in ecological validity. Potential implications of these findings, and future research directions, are explored in the discussion.


Education and Treatment of Children


  • Shelley Clarke
  • Glen Dunlap
  • Janine Peck Stichter

Prevention Level

  • Tertiary


  • Administrators
  • PBS Coaches
  • Specialists

System Impacts

  • District Team
  • Whole School


  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Elementary School
  • High School
  • Middle School
  • Systems