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 #431
Technological Advancements in the Research of Repetitive Behavior Disorders: Implications for Treatment
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Private Dining Room 1 (3rd floor)
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Amanda C. Adcock (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Discussant: Michael Twohig (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: Due to the low prevalence rates of a variety of repetitive behavior disorders, the field of psychology and more specifically, behavior analysts have been forced to explore new options for data collection. One of these new avenues for data collection come from the use of the Internet to collect descriptive data that would otherwise be almost impossible to attain. Data will be presented from two Internet studies looking at Trichotillomainia (TTM) and Chronic Skin Picking (CSP). The use of the negative reinforcement model of chronic skin picking will be discussed with data presented from a computer programmed task examining impulse control in persons with CSP and TTM.
Antecedent Phenomena Associated with Trichotillomania: Research and Treatment Implications from an Online Study
CHAD WETTERNECK (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Douglas W. Woods (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Chris A. Flessner (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Melissa Norberg (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Andrea Bogotka (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: Trichotillomania (TTM) involves hair pulling that results in noticeable hair loss. Recent reports of prevalence indicate that TTM is more common than once perceived, but occurs less frequently than most other mental health disorders. The low prevalence rate, in combination with the secretive nature of the disorder, makes the behavior difficult to study. Previous investigations of TTM have concluded that hair pulling has an escape or avoidance function. This process has been termed experiential avoidance (e.g., unhealthy efforts to escape or avoid private events) and has been found to correlate with TTM severity. To date, there is no empirical data to clearly demonstrate which private events may precede hair pulling. The present paper displays the similarities in demographic and TTM-related characteristics between a large internet sample of hair pullers (N = 381) with that of two smaller samples, one nonreferred (N = 36) and one from a clinic (N = 31), who met individually with interviewers. The internet sample also reported on the presence of antecedent phenomena. The relationship between antecedent phenomena, TTM severity, and experiential avoidance, as well as implications for treatment of TTM will be discussed.
Internet Use and its Implications for the Research of Repetitive Behavior Disorders: Chronic Skin Picking (CSP)
CHRIS A. FLESSNER (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Douglas W. Woods (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: With the advent of the internet, opportunities to incorporate new technology into behavioral research have grown exponentially. This new technology has allowed researchers to obtain increasing amounts of data regarding a variety of mental health concerns in a fraction of the time typically required. The internet has proven particularly helpful with regards to the study of repetitive behavior disorders, particularly with regards to the study of Trichotillomania (TTM) and CSP. Several organizations concerned with the research and treatment of TTM and CSP have developed internet sites designed to update clinicians, researchers, and consumers about new research and treatment studies underway throughout the United States. The purpose of this talk is to examine and evaluate a web-based survey designed to provide a glimpse into the phenomenology of CSP. Results will be discussed with regards to 100 individuals completing this web-based survey over a two-month period. Implications for the further development of behavioral interventions for CSP (and related repetitive behavior disorders), the limitations of web-based methodology, and possible avenues of future research will be discussed.
A Negative Reinforcement Model of Delay Discounting: Implications for the Clinical Research of Trichotillomania (TTM) and Chronic Skin Picking (CSP
DOUGLAS W. WOODS (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Chris A. Flessner (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Michael B. Himle (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Abstract: Impulse-control is central to a number of psychological disorders including pathological gambling, substance abuse, and trichotillomania (TTM). Although numerous theoretical accounts of impulsivity have been proposed, the delay-discounting model has received the most extensive empirical support and has important implications for understanding maladaptive human behavior. The delay discounting model defines impulsivity as the choice of a smaller, immediate reward over a larger, delayed reward when the delayed reward is clearly of greater magnitude Most of the existing literature examining delay discounting utilizes methodology characteristic of a positive reinforcement model of human behavior. However, this methodology may not accurately reflect the function of hair pulling or skin picking for individuals with TTM or CSP. The aim of the current study is to develop and validate a methodology representative of a negative reinforcement model of human behavior and, in particular, to develop a methodology more characteristic of the experiences of individuals with TTM or CSP. This talk will focus on both the development and validation of this methodology, based upon data collected from controls, and continue with the presentation of data collected from individuals diagnosed with TTM and/or CSP.



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