Basic Principles

The components of a person's "behavioral condition" are the antecedent, behavior and consequence. These are known as the "A-B-C's" of behavior analysis. Behavior analysis attempts to explain the relationship between these components.

Antecedent: The components of a person's behavioral condition are the antecedent, the behavior itself, and the consequence. Behavior analysis attempts to explain the relationship among these components. All behaviors to be modified are preceeded by some event in the person's environment. The preceding event is called the antecedent. The antecedent may be external, such as lighting, noise or verbal instructions or internally, such as headache, flu, seizure or medication. Certain antecedents, such as during therapy are a part of the rehabilitative process and should not be avoided.

Behavior: An antecedent event is followed by the occurance of a behavior. Individuals with traumatic brain injury can exhibit a number of maladaptive behaviors. Behavior disorders can be categorized as those occurring too often (in excess), those not occurring often enough (in deficit), and those not occurring in the correct context.

Consequence: Behaviors are followed by a consequence that will affect the future rate, duration, and intensity of the behavior. Consequences are either reinforcing or punishing. Reinforcers will increase and punishers will decrease the future occurrence of the behavior. Reinforcement programs should be tried before implementing a punishment program. Reinforcement programs teach people what to do and are generally more effective for long-term maintenance of the desired behavior.


Rehabilitation takes place in a restricted environment. The goal of behavior programs is for the client to be able to generalize behaviors learned in the clinic to other settings. For example, learning to control physical aggression in the clinic should be reflected in the ability to control aggression in the community.

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