Brief report: Impact of applied behaviour analysis (ABA) on carer burden and community participation in challenging behaviour: results from a randomised controlled trial

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BackgroundApplied behaviour analysis (ABA) reduces challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disability. There is interest, however, in whether such interventions reduce carer burden and increase community participation in this group.MethodsA 6-month randomised controlled trial was followed by a longer-term naturalistic follow-up of participants. We studied the impact of the challenging behaviour on the carers and on the daily activities of the participants measured by the Carer Uplift and Burden Scale and Guernsey Community Participation and Leisure Assessment respectively.ResultsBoth community participation and carer burden improved at 6 and 24 months. Burden showed significant reduction in family carers compared with paid carers. There was no significant intervention effect on the variables under consideration.ConclusionsABA appears to be no more effective than standard care in improving social outcomes in people with intellectual disabilities and challenging behaviour but this requires further examination in a larger trial.

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