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.


35th Annual Convention; Phoenix, AZ; 2009

Event Details

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Symposium #431
Recent Research on Assessment and Treatment of Eating Disorders and Obesity
Monday, May 25, 2009
1:30 PM–2:50 PM
North 222 AB
Area: CBM/CSE; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Tamela Giddings (University of South Florida)
Abstract: This symposium will feature four papers on assessment and treatment of eating disorders and obesity. In the first paper, Giddings will discuss a study evaluating a functional treatment for binge eating associated with bulimia. In the second paper, Pearson will discuss research on a group intervention involving ACT for body dissatisfaction and disordered eating. Next, Clemency will discuss research on factors contributing to body image problems and disordered eating in women in performance groups. Finally, Bordieri will discuss research on traditional behavioral treatments combined with ACT for treatment of obesity.
Evaluation of a Functional Treatment for Binge Eating Associated with Bulimia Nervosa
TAMELA GIDDINGS (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Binge-eating disorders are a common problem affecting up to 5 percent of the American population in any given 6-month period. The most widely accepted treatment is some variation of Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Although there is an abundance of research showing positive effects, the abstinence rates following this type of treatment are around 50%. A recent study by Bosch, Miltenberger, Gross, Knudson, and Brower-Breitwieser (2008) explored the effects of extinction on binge-eating behavior that was hypothesized to be maintained by relief from negative emotional responding. The study involved four women who engaged in binge-eating behavior, one of whom met the diagnostic criteria for Bulimia Nervosa. The treatment was successful, with three of the four participants obtaining abstinence. To date, this has been the only study examining this procedure and with only four participants. The purpose of the current study was to further evaluate extinction of binge eating maintained by automatic negative reinforcement with women who met diagnostic criteria for Bulimia Nervosa. Four young women enrolled in the study, three of whom met criteria for Bulimia Nervosa. The results showed that the treatment decreased binge eating to zero for all four women, although one dropped out of the study shortly after beginning the intervention.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy as a Group Intervention for Body Dissatisfaction and Disordered Eating Behaviors
ADRIA PEARSON (University of Nevada, Reno), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno), Victoria M. Follette (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: This study was a small randomized clinical trial collecting pilot data to assess the effectiveness of a one day Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) workshop targeting body dissatisfaction and disordered eating attitudes. The treatment was compared to a wait-list control condition. The participants were seventy-three women from a local university and a medium sized city in the Western United States. Participants in the wait-list control group completed one week of self-monitoring of hunger and satiety and attended three appointments where they completed standardized measures. Subsequently they were offered the workshop and completed measures immediately post-workshop. Participants in the treatment group attended an initial appointment where they completed standardized measures. Then they attended the workshop and post-measures, and then attended two, once weekly follow up appointments. They also self-monitored hunger and satiety for one week following the workshop. Disordered eating pathology, body anxiety, distress related to thoughts about eating and body image and measures of experiential avoidance showed significant reductions in the treatment group when compared to the control group. Acceptance was shown as a mediating variable for changes in distress levels related to thoughts about eating and body image. Implications are that the study shows strong support as a brief intervention for a broad range of women experiencing disordered eating attitudes and distress related to eating and body image.
Bodies on Display: Self-Objectification, Body Image and Disordered Eating
COLLEEN CLEMENCY (Arizona State University)
Abstract: This study investigated whether participation in multiple performance groups (theatre, and/or dance) was related to elevated levels of self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, and disordered eating among 173 university women in the United States. A trend in body dissatisfaction and disordered eating was found as group membership increased. Self-objectification and body dissatisfaction predicted disordered eating behaviors, replicating findings in previous studies. American college women in performance arts appear to be uniquely at risk for developing poor body image and disordered eating habits, and participation in multiple performance groups may further enhance this at-risk status.
Generating Sustainable Weight Loss: Outcomes from a Combination of Classic and Contemporary Behavioral Interventions
MICHAEL BORDIERI (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Nicholas Mui Ker Lik (Southern Illinois University), Becky L. Nastally (Southern Illinois University), Lindsay Beth Vick (Southern Illinois University), Brooke Diane Walker (SIU Carbondale)
Abstract: Two thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. Behavioral interventions targeting weight loss have produced considerable immediate successes but have offered little to no evidence of maintenance. The cultural phenomenon of "yo-yo dieting" mirrors empirical findings which suggest that weight loss, albeit demanding, is a far easier process to target than weight maintenance. This study sought to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention package designed to generate both immediate and sustainable weight loss in obese and overweight adults. The therapy package combined the traditional behavioral interventions of self-monitoring and goal setting with an acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) protocol across eight weekly individual therapy sessions. Weight served as the primary dependent measure but this investigation also explored changes in self-monitored health behaviors (i.e. food intake and exercise patterns) as well as a variety of quality of life and process measures. Preliminary data indicate positive outcomes and additional data will be collected. Implications for behavioral based weight loss and weight maintenance interventions will be presented.



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