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 #374
Behavioral Activation and Depression
Monday, May 30, 2005
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Private Dining Room 1 (3rd floor)
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Laura Dee (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: This symposium will present theory and research on Behavioral Activation (BA) for the treatment of depression. BA is a promising behavioral approach that has gained considerable research support. First, Jonathan Kanter will present an overview of BA and a comparison with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, with which it shares several features. Second, Patrick Mulick will present data on the efficacy of Behavioral Activation for the treatment of co-morbid Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression. This data will include a case study, a multiple-baseline single-subject design, and a recent group study. Third, Scott Gaynor will report their attempt to tailor BA to an adolescent population. This includes data from an outreach program they have implemented in a public high school where they offer free BA treatment to adolescents with depressed symptoms. Fourth, initial reliability and validity of the Behavioral Activation Scale, a self-report measure to track client progress during Behavioral Activation for use in single-case or group research, will be presented.
Modern Behavioral Activation, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Depression
JONATHAN W. KANTER (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Laura Dee (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Andrew Busch (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Sara J. Landes (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: Behavioral Activation (BA) as a treatment for depression has undergone several transformations over the last 30 years since its development by Lewinsohn, incorporation in Cognitive Therapy, and subsequent isolation as an active, stand-alone treatment. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as applied to depression also has historical roots as an elaboration of a component of Cognitive Therapy, namely Comprehensive Distancing. Both modern BA and ACT target avoidance but important differences remain, especially concerning the underlying conceptualization of depression, the goals of treatment and the role of values.
Behavioral Activation in the Treatment of PTSD and Depression: A Developing Line of Research
PATRICK S. MULICK (Gonzaga University), Amy E. Naugle (Western Michigan University), Matthew Jukupcak (VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division), Miles McFall (VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle Division)
Abstract: As Behavioral Activation (BA) becomes a more established depression treatment, questions of its effectiveness with other psychiatric populations have emerged. Strong empirical evidence supports cognitive-behavioral treatments to treat PTSD when it occurs alone, with exposure therapy typically being the most frequently utilized. While the success of exposure treatments is well established there are factors which may hinder their use in real world settings (i.e., poor treatment compliance, high drop-out rates, the aversive nature of the procedures). Thus, more palatable psychological interventions are needed. The results of three separate studies support BA as one such treatment. An initial case study demonstrated BA could be used to treat co-morbid PTSD and depression in an adult police officer/military veteran. These results influenced the development of a study utilizing a nonconcurrent multiple baseline across four participants design. At post-assessment, two of the participants no longer suffered from either PTSD or depression, while an additional participant no longer suffered from depression. Based on these studies, a larger empirical study (N = 11) was designed to explore the effectiveness of BA in the VAMC setting. Over half of the participants demonstrated significant improvement across measures. Implication for this line of research will be discussed.
Application of Behavioral Activation with Adolescents
SCOTT T. GAYNOR (Western Michigan University), Amy E. Naugle (Western Michigan University), Amanda M. Harris (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Behavioral activation (BA) prompts depressed individuals to reengage their lives, countering avoidance and withdrawal and increasing contact with naturalistic reinforcement. BA has demonstrated efficacy in clinical trials with depressed adults, an exciting development because BA is relatively straightforward to implement. Thus, it may be especially amenable to dissemination and implementation by beginning therapists. The Report of the Surgeon General’s Conference on Child Mental Health concluded there is a crisis in mental healthcare for youth and called for dissemination of empirically supported treatments to children and delivery of such services in settings where youth congregate. The authors’ will report on their attempts to tailor BA to an adolescent population and provide data from an outreach project they have implemented in a large public high school wherein clinical psychology graduate students, as part of their practicum, offer free BA treatment to adolescents with depressive symptoms.
The Behavioral Activation Scale: Results of an Initial Administration
ANDREW BUSCH (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Ellen Shaw (Gonzaga University), Jordan T. Bonow (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Patrick S. Mulick (Gonzaga University), Jonathan W. Kanter (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Christopher Martell (University of Washington)
Abstract: Recently, the psychotherapeutic treatment for depression Behavioral Activation (BA) has received considerable attention in the psychotherapy research community, and it is likely that considerable research will be conducted on this treatment in the future. An important initial step in this research is to devise a measure of the degree to which clients are becoming more activated over the course of BA. Such a measure has immediate utility for therapists conducting this treatment as a way to assess treatment progress and for researchers aiming to study psychotherapeutic processes in BA. The current study presents results of testing an initial version of such a scale, called the Behavioral Activation Scale (BAS). The scale performed well, evidencing high internal consistency (? = .92) and test-retest reliability (one week later, r = .81). Significant correlations with measures of depression and anxiety provide evidence for its construct validity. In addition, single-case data with depressed clients receiving treatment for depression will be presented.



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