What is ABC Data & Why is it Important to ABA? + Free Worksheet Pack

Before you can determine why a behavior is occurring, you need to establish a baseline of what’s normal for your client. The best way to figure out the function of a behavior is to observe it and take notes about what happened immediately before that behavior occurred, what your client was doing during the behavior and what happened after. ABC Data is a method used to understand why a behavior is happening by looking at what precedes it and what follows it. The three types of data you should
consider are Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence.

Antecedent = What happened before the observed behavior.
Consequence = What happened after the observed behavior.

Going over these ABCs will help clue you into why the behavior is occurring. For example, if your dog barks at the window whenever his neighbor leaves for work, you might discover that the barking stops when your neighbor returns home. This information can help you determine why your dog is barking in the first place—the barking might be serving as some sort of communication between you and your
neighbor (antecedent), or it might have something to do with separation anxiety (consequence). To learn more about ABC Data check out our RBT study guide episode on YouTube

How to gather better ABC Data?

When observing behavior, it can be tough to keep track of what is important for ABC data. While it is important to write down exactly what your patient said and did don’t interpret anything your patient says or does. Important ways you can take better ABC data include

Using abbreviations
Noting the time of the day the behavior occurred
Noting if other behaviors occurred at the same time
Describing events that occurred on the day the behavior was observed (Getting dropped off, eating certain foods, running at a playground, etc. )

For better results and easier data collection, don’t forget to download our ABC Data Worksheet pack using the link below.

ABC Data Worksheets


Send download link to (by downloading files you agree to receive promotional emails):