What is ABC Data?

At the initiation of ABA services, the BCBA and therapist will likely collect ABC data. But what is ABC Data?


A – Antecedent: What happened directly before the behavior

B – Behavior: What the behavior looked like

C – Consequence: What happened directly after the behavior


ABC data is used to determine events that occur in close proximity to the target behavior. Any events that occur immediately before or after the target behavior are recorded. The data is then analyzed to determine correlations between antecedents, consequences, and the target behavior.


There are different forms of ABC data sheets. On some data sheets, the individual collecting the data may check off the antecedents and consequences from a pre-created list. On other data sheets, the individual may write out the antecedent and consequence in their own words.


Once ABC data is collected, the antecedents and consequences can be graphed using a pie chart to help determine the function of the target behavior.


For example, results of graphed ABC data may look similar to this:




Based on the graphs above, it is likely that the target behavior is being maintained by access to preferred items. Additionally, there may be a secondary function of escape from demands.


ABC data is important because it will help to confirm the function of a behavior (why the behavior continues to occur) and will help to ensure that the intervention put into place is appropriate.

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