A Meta-analysis of Challenging Behavior Interventions for Students with Developmental Disabilities in Inclusive School Settings

J Autism Dev Disord. 2020 Apr;50(4):1221-1237. doi: 10.1007/s10803-019-04329-x.


Challenging behavior is a significant barrier in accessing the general education curriculum for students with developmental disabilities. This necessitates the identification of evidence-based practices for addressing challenging behavior in inclusive settings. The purpose of our meta-analysis is to (a) quantify the magnitude of effect of interventions targeting the reduction of challenging behavior in students with developmental disabilities in inclusive educational settings and (b) determine if participant and intervention characteristics moderate intervention effects. A systematic search of academic databases was conducted to identify studies, which were evaluated for methodological rigor and analyzed for effects using Tau-U. Results indicate a strong overall effect of .94 (95% CI [.87, 1]) and moderating variables associated with behavior topography, interventionist, and intervention components were identified.

Keywords: Behavior intervention; Challenging behavior; Developmental disabilities; Inclusive; Meta-analysis; School-based.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Curriculum*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Disabled Children / education*
  • Disabled Children / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mainstreaming, Education / methods*
  • Problem Behavior