School Social Workers Perceptions of the Use of Functional Behavior Assessments

Susan Elizabeth Elswick, Matthew James Cuellar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Conducting functional behavior assessments (FBAs) is an important component of meeting the behavioral needs of students exhibiting significant behavioral problems. However, the practices and perceptions of school social workers (SSWs) in the use of FBAs are relatively unknown. Method: The proposed study explored the perceptions of 310 SSWs, across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Wisconsin about the processes involved in conducting an FBA. Descriptive and inferential statistics were estimated using the general linear model. Results: Findings suggest that theoretical orientation is associated with perceived usefulness of FBAs. Additionally, perceptions about the activities involved in conducting FBAs and decision-making practices varied as a function of level of competence about facilitating FBAs. Discussion: Overall, findings suggest that SSWs possess the skills needed to facilitate FBAs and face similar barriers of conducting FBAs of other school-based clinicians.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-512
Number of pages10
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • education
  • evidence-based practice
  • field of practice
  • mental health
  • methodological article


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