Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #144
CE Offered: BACB
Expanding the Scope of Research on Treatment Integrity in Behavioral Interventions
Sunday, May 28, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Regency VI
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: April S. Worsdell (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: April S. Worsdell, Ph.D.

A central focus of applied behavior analysis is the demonstration of functional relationships between independent and dependent variables. The failure of an intervention to produce desired behavior change may be related to the incomplete application of the programmed independent variable. Conversely, an initially robust treatment outcome may be weakened when an intervention is not implemented will full procedural integrity. This symposium will present a series of experiments designed to explore the issue of treatment integrity in behavioral interventions. Specifically, these studies sought to determine: (1) the extent to which independent variable integrity is assessed and monitored in applied experiments, and (2) whether positive treatment outcomes maintain in the face of varying levels of procedural integrity.

Treatment Integrity Revisited: Do We Practice What We Preach?
APRIL S. WORSDELL (Southern Illinois University), Jennifer A. Benne (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: In applied experiments, a double-standard has been observed wherein operational definitions and reliability estimates are reported when the behavior serves as the dependent variable but are rarely reported when the behavior serves as the independent variable (Gresham, Gansle, & Noell, 1993; Peterson, Homer, & Wonderlich, 1982). The purpose of this study was to evaluate the degree to which behavioral experiments monitored the integrity of independent variables. The primary questions of interest were whether the studies included treatment integrity data, an operational definition of the intervention, and an indication that the therapist received training. A total of 188 articles published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA) between 1994 and 2004 were reviewed. A second rater coded 11.1% of the articles, and percentage agreement was above 83%. Results showed that 41.5% of the reviewed studies reported a numerical index of treatment integrity. In 29.8% of articles, a precise operational definition of the independent variable was included. Finally, 29.8% of the reviewed articles mentioned that the therapist received training in the implementation of the intervention. The results are discussed with regard to how to close the methodological gap between the observation and reporting of dependent and independent variables in applied experiments.
Sequence Effects in DRA Treatment Integrity Failures.
CLAIRE C ST. PETER (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Applied behavior analysts commonly use differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) as a treatment for behavior disorders. Although a relatively straightforward treatment, DRA is sometimes implemented imperfectly by caregivers. Vollmer et al. (1999) evaluated the effects of treatment integrity failures on DRA treatments and found that DRA remained largely effective even when implemented imperfectly. One limitation of this study was the lack of control for potential sequence effects. We examined potential sequence effects by replicating one of Vollmer et al.’s integrity failure conditions (50/50) following both baseline and full treatment conditions, using a translational research model. Experiment I evaluated possible sequence effects using undergraduates responding on a computer. In experiment II, we replicated our procedures in a school setting. The results of both experiments showed that compromised DRA was generally not effective at reducing rates of problem behavior. Additionally, sequence effects were evident in both experiments, such that the rate of responding during integrity failure phases was different when those phases followed baseline than when they followed full treatment.
Effects of Varying Levels of Treatment Integrity During Treatment with a Three-Step Prompting Procedure.
DAVID A. WILDER (Florida Institute of Technology), Julie Atwell (Florida Institute of Technology), Byron J. Wine (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: The effects of three levels of treatment integrity (100%, 50%, 0%) on child compliance were evaluated in the context of the implementation of a three-step prompting procedure. Two typically developing preschool children participated in the study. After baseline data on compliance to one of three common demands were collected, a therapist implemented the three-step prompting procedure at three different integrity levels. One integrity level was associated with each demand. The effects of the integrity levels were examined using multielement designs. The results indicated that child compliance varied according to the level of treatment integrity which was in place.
Immediate and Subsequent Effects of Response Blocking on Self-Injury.
KATY ATCHESON (University of North Texas), Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas), Roxanne L. Wolf (University of North Texas), Heather A. Moore (University of North Texas), Amanda J. McAllister (University of North Texas), Curtis J. Harris (University of North Texas), V. White (University of North Texas)
Abstract: In many institutional settings, blocking, response restriction (e.g., restraint, protective equipment) and re-direction procedures are used extensively as interventions for SIB, but the effectiveness of these types of procedures has not yet been demonstrated. In the current study, a three component, multiple-schedule analysis was used to examine the immediate and subsequent effects of blocking on occurrences of SIB. The first and third component consisted of baseline sessions, in which the participant was in the room, alone, with no social consequences for SIB. The second component was the response restriction component, in which the therapist was sitting in the room with the participant and blocked occurrences of SIB. After the end of the second component, the therapist left the room and the third component, baseline began again, and no social consequences were given for occurrences of SIB. Results indicated that, although blocking was effective in decreasing SIB while it was in place, subsequent effects were idiosyncratic across participants. Evidence of increased levels of SIB following blocking was observed for some participants.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh