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

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Symposium #325
Utilizing Functional and Experimental Analysis Methodology to Treat Aberrant Behavior in Typically Developing Adolescents
Monday, May 29, 2006
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Shawn L. Hirsch (Girls and Boys Town)
Abstract: The use of functional and experimental analysis in treating problem behavior has a strong tradition in the applied behavior analytic literature. This is not surprising given that such methodology focuses on the detection of variables that improve or influence the occurrence of problem behavior. While functional and experimental analysis have been repeatedly shown to be an invaluable assessment and intervention tool, several shortcomings have been noted in the literature. For example, Hanley et al. (2003) found that an overwhelming number of functional analysis studies targeted individuals with developmental disabilities (91.3%). Based on reviews of the literature, there appears to be a need for replications of functional or experimental analysis methodologies targeting typically developing individuals within naturalistic settings. The purpose of this symposium is to expose the audience to a novel approach for using functional and experimental analysis in assessing and treating problem behavior in typically developing adolescents. An understanding of the process and several case studies using antecedent and consequence manipulations will be presented first. The symposium will conclude with a study on the long-term effectiveness of using experimental analysis methodology with the identified population.
Developing Applied Behavioral Analytic Technology for Use With Typically Developing Adolescents.
SEAN T. SMITHAM (Girls and Boys Town), Gary Feller (Girls and Boys Town), Stacy Horsham (Girls and Boys Town)
Abstract: Many youth treatment providers pride themselves on using proven child-care technologies to teach children to overcome problems, learn new skills, and change their lives for the better. Organizations often face challenges, however, when they attempt to integrate new behavioral technologies, such as functional analysis (FA), with the organization’s established structural and procedural hierarchy. This may be especially true for residential treatment facilities that serve at risk - but otherwise typically developing - youth in a naturalistic environment. This presentation will provide an overview of how one organization (Girls and Boys Town) attempts to address the challenge of incorporating evidenced based functional analysis technology into the residential treatment milieu. The core challenge is expressed in the following question: How does one balance the need for experimental control and manipulation that allows for good data based recommendations with the flexibility needed to apply this technology in a naturalistic fashion so that it is accepted by staff and addresses the need for improved treatment generalization? Through highlighting the evolution of applied functional analysis procedures within the larger organization and discussing our current process, we hope to illuminate some of the challenges as well as the benefits of providing FA services within a larger treatment system.
Applying Functional Assessment Methodologies to the Identification of Effective Antecedent Interventions for Maladaptive Behavior in Typically Developing Adolescents.
JENNIFER L. RESETAR (Girls and Boys Town), Ryan Meehl (Girls and Boys Town)
Abstract: Functional assessments were conducted for three typically developing adolescents placed in a family style, group home setting. Each adolescent exhibited significant ongoing oppositional and maladaptive behaviors. Direct care staff gathered information concerning the target behavior from multiple sources. Indirect assessments were carried out using methods such as interviews and review of records and reports. Descriptive analyses were conducted by examining a log of daily behavior recorded by direct care staff via each youth’s behavioral record. Based on this information, a functional assessment team identified possible antecedents and functions of the adolescents’ maladaptive behaviors and designed an individualized experimental analysis for each. The purpose of this presentation will be to present the outcomes of three experimental analyses that manipulated antecedent variables such as task difficulty and interspersal, frequency of positive versus negative interactions, and length and quality of prompts.
Treating Aberrant Behavior in Typically Developing Adolescents: Consequence Based Interventions.
KASHUNDA L. WILLIAMS (Girls and Boys Town), Casandra Schlueter (Girls and Boys Town)
Abstract: The utilization of experimental analysis in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior in typically developing adolescents is uncommon in the applied behavior analytic literature. Nonetheless, an understanding of the effects of using functional and experimental analysis in the assessment and treatment of problem behaviors in typically developing adolescents is warranted. This presentation provides three case examples, with the dependant variables targeting oppositional/ maladaptive behavior, in which consequence based interventions were designed using results from experimental analyses that utilized ABA methodologies. Interventions implemented included, but were not limited to, self-monitoring, contingent reinforcement, contingent punishment, or some combination. This case presentation provides an example of the utilization of ABA methodologies (1) with typically developing adolescent youth, (2) in intervention planning for this population, and (3) in a home setting. Results indicated that for the majority of youth intervention implementation lead to a reduction in targeted behaviors.
Evaluating the Effects of Functional and Experimental Analysis on the Behavior of Typically Developing Adolescents.
MICHAEL I. AXELROD (Girls and Boys Town), Christina Edwards (Girls and Boys Town), Michael L. Handwerk (Girls and Boys Town)
Abstract: Functional and experimental analytic studies have repeatedly shown that identifying and manipulating contextual variables can have a profound influence on problematic behavior. While the majority of this research has focused on individuals with developmental disabilities or mental retardation, investigations on the use of behavior analytic methodologies with typically developing populations also has demonstrated effectiveness. Very few studies, however, have included an examination of the lasting impact functional and experimental analysis might have on individuals exhibiting oppositional and disruptive behavior. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the long-term (60+ days) effectiveness of utilizing functional and experimental analytic procedures with typically developing individuals. Adolescents exhibiting significant problematic behavior within a family style group home were selected to be evaluated and treated using functional and/or experimental analysis procedures. Subjects were exposed to the procedures and consultation was provided to direct case staff and program administration regarding the results of the analyses. Behavioral observations from pre-analysis and post-analysis were compared to determine the within subject effects. Subjects were also compared to treatment as usual controls to determine the between subject effects. Results suggest that functional and/or experimental analytic procedures produce long-term gains for typically developing adolescents.



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