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.


31st Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2005

Event Details

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Symposium #145
The Design and Analysis of Factors Promoting the Survival of Behavioral Programs Post-research
Sunday, May 29, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Joliet (3rd floor)
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas)
Abstract: This symposium presents papers that illustrate some conceptual and methodological considerations that permit the experimental analysis of factors that promote the survival of behavioral programs in post-research settings. This first paper argues that recognizing the importance of informal supports provided to staff by researchers during research might speed up development of a technology to promote program survival. The second paper reports the application of this emerging methodology to teacher meetings in a large middle school. The program has survived 24 months post-research. The third paper reports application to medication adherence in a home setting. The program survived 9 months post-research and was terminated because of financial problems by the patient. The fourth paper reports an innovative laboratory approach based on an animal model to rapid analysis of factors that promote program survival. The paper will report the successful replication of large scale staff management studies as a step toward evaluating the generality of results to applied settings. Taken together, these papers suggest the possibility of experimentally analyzing variables that promote the survival of behavioral programs in post-research settings.
Researcher Supports: A Crucial Variable Affecting Survival of Behavioral Programs in Post-Research Settings
L. KEITH MILLER (University of Kansas)
Abstract: Researchers typically provide informal supports for behavioral programs during experiments to ensure program integrity. These supports include providing rationales to staff, giving feedback, prompting and praising staff, modifying the program, designing and duplicating forms, and actually delivering the intervention. The failure to describe such supports in research papers may hinder complete replication, obscure much of the behavior that local staff must emit to implement the program on their own, and lead to false predictions of continued use in the post research setting. This paper recommends five practices that might help create a technology to promote program survival. First, researchers could increase the accuracy of their technological specification by more fully reporting their supports. Second, researchers could determine the importance of their supports by experimentally analyzing implementation in their absence. Third, researchers could contribute to a technology for promoting program survival by designing and analyzing procedures that successfully turn over the functions of their supports to local staff. Fourth, researchers could improve the predictive accuracy of their results to post-research conditions by terminating all supports. Fifth, researcher could simulate the post-research setting by terminating their supports, remaining in the setting and experimentally analyzing the effects of different variables on program survival.
Increasing Data-Based Decision Making in Schools
MARIE C. TIEGHI-BENET (University of Kansas), L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas), Rachel L. Freeman (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The purpose of this project was to develop a meeting system to foster teacher data-based decision making when targeting either academic and/or behavioral problems in either general or special education, which would survive after the researchers left the setting. The study took place over a two-year period in a Midwest public middle school serving 600 students. This meeting system was based on a manual that guided teachers through the meeting process. At each meeting, the researcher measured the percentage team meeting behaviors displayed, defined as a collection of data-related and appropriate-meeting behaviors. The percentage of team meeting behaviors increased from an average of 13% during baseline to average of 81% with manual implementation. Manual withdrawal was associated with team meeting behaviors decreasing to an average of 54%, increasing back to 79% with manual re-implementation. Five of 6 randomly selected student cases showed academic gains associated with manual implementation. Follow-up observations conducted up to two years after the research team left the setting revealed continued implementation of the manual, and team meeting behaviors to average 86%. Measures taken to try to increase the probability of program survival, such as usability testing, transfer of supports, and probing for survival are discussed. The Effects of a Spouse-Implemented Contingency Contract on Survival of an Asthma Medication Adherence Program. HEIDI L. HILLM
The Effects of a Spouse-Implemented Contingency Contract on Survival of an Asthma Medication Adherence Program
HEIDI L. HILLMAN (University of Kansas), L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas)
Abstract: The authors investigated the effects of a contingency contract on asthma medication adherence. Participants included a 30 year-old woman with asthma, and her husband. The first author initially implemented the contingency contract and trained the husband to implement the same contract. An ABAC reversal design showed that medication adherence was higher during contingency contract conditions than during baseline conditions. Follow-up observations show the program still survived nine months post-research. The authors speculate that the flexibility of the program and the use of a spousal “buddy system” may have been variables that aided in the survival of the contingency contract system.
A Laboratory for Investigating Staff-Management Procedures
NATHANIEL G. SMITH (University of Kansas), L. Keith Miller (University of Kansas)
Abstract: We examined the generality of an experimental preparation for analyzing the effectiveness of staff-management procedures under laboratory conditions. We sought to develop a preparation analogous to organizations where the population served is dependent upon local staff for the successful delivery of services. This preparation required college students (serving as local staff) to implement an effective program to maintain complex behaviors among mice (the population served). We then completed several replications of the staff-management literature. The first experiment replicated the finding that staff training alone is not sufficient to ensure continued program implementation. The second experiment replicated the finding that performance-contingent incentives are effective. These replications suggest that the present experimental preparation may be a feasible alternative for designing, implementing, and testing the effectiveness of various staff-management procedures, without the constraints of a functioning business or organization. We discuss future research on the effect of various factors that might promote the survival of behavior-analytic programs such as reduction in implementation effort, supervision by behavioral outcomes, and the use of advocates for the population served as natural supervisors.



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