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Keystone Behaviors

  • By: David Barnett
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

The analysis of keystone behaviors is a conceptual and research-based target variable selection strategy addressing the question of what to change in behavioral problem solving. Keystone behaviors have been defined as:

  • Pivotal behaviors associated with response classes of maladaptive behaviors that can positively influence other child behaviors
  • Behaviors that result in other beneficial collateral child, peer, and adult outcomes
  • Foundation skills necessary for adaptation to present and future environments

Stated differently, keystone variables represent relatively narrow targets for change that have the possibility of widespread benefits to clients. The hypothesized benefits of selecting keystone targets for change include more effective and efficient interventions. Within the context of ecological consultation and systems analysis, the term keystone variable, rather than behavior, is suggested because of the broad range of potential targets ...

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