There is No Such Thing as a Bad Boy: The Circumstances View of Problem Behavior | Journal Club Series

Dr. Nicole Bank, BCBA, LBA-TX

Earn 3 Learning BACB® CEUs!

This installment in our Journal Club Series will cover the article, “There is no such thing as a bad boy: The Circumstances View of problem behavior” authored by Pat Friman published in Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. CEUs are provided for reading the article, participating in an online discussion, and completing an article content quiz.

From the beginning of recorded time human beings have assigned blame to persons who misbehave. The first prominent person to make an alternative case was Father Edward J. Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town, who proclaimed there was “no such thing as a bad boy, only bad environment, bad modeling, and bad teaching” (Oursler & Oursler, 1949, p. 7) in other words, bad circumstances. This paper will refer to this perspective as the Circumstances View of problem behavior and anchor it as the foundational idea for the field of behavior analysis. This paper will discuss the origins of the Circumstances View, the benefits that result from its adoption, reasons why its adoption is not more widespread, and suggestions for disseminating it more widely.

This is an interactive live online journal club. Participants will receive 3 Learning BACB® CEUs for completing all journal club activities. Participants are required to have read the entire article before attending the scheduled one-hour live online journal club discussion. Journal club discussions will include article details, article results, and implications for practice. Active participation is required. CEUs will be provided after completing an article content quiz on the BDS learning platform. Only those who read the article and actively participate in the live online discussion will be invited to take the content quiz. BDS is interested in increasing scholarly activities and discussion among BCBAs and BCaBAs. Stay tuned for future CE events in the BDS Journal Club Series!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Purchase the journal club meeting you would like to attend.
  2. Follow instructions for downloading a copy of the article.
  3. Add the following emails to your contacts in order to avoid important emails going to spam: AND

  1. Receive an email for instructions on scheduling your online discussion. Once the online discussion is scheduled, you will receive a link for the online discussion.
  2. Read the article in it’s entirety.
  3. Join the journal club meeting at the scheduled time. Please mute your microphone upon entry.
  4. Stay online and involved for the 1-hour journal club meeting.
  5. Receive a link to the content quiz.
  6. Complete the content quiz to 80% accuracy. You have three attempts to attain 80% correct or higher. If 80% correct is not achieved by the third attempt, another attempt cannot be made for 2 days. Please contact after 2 days for additional runs.
  7. Receive 3 CEUs.


  1. Describe the history of Boys Town, Nebraska
  2. Define the Circumstances View of behavior
  3. Describe the sources of problem behavior from the Circumstances View
  4. Describe barriers to advocating for the Circumstances View
  5. Describe recommendations for extending the Circumstances View