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.


40th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2014

Event Details

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Symposium #440
Expanding the Applications of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to Impact Choice Making
Monday, May 26, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W181a (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: DEV/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Maggie Molony (Southern Illinois University)
Abstract: The present series of studies will illustrate applied examples of how contemporary behavioral science is expanding the area of choice making across various populations (i.e. children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities, and undergraduate and graduate college students) and choice-making paradigms. The present papers will showcase how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness can impact a person’s choice making behaviors when assessing various types of risks and socially inappropriate behaviors (i.e. self-injurious behavior, risky sexual behaviors, low school attendance). Furthermore, the studies examined how receiving hypothetical or tangible outcomes altered behaviors at different choice points. The functions maintaining the behaviors investigated in each study were also examined to determine whether behavioral functions are a variable that can assist in determining a person’s choice making behaviors when varying magnitudes and delays of risk are involved. In summary, each of the present studies illustrates the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Mindfulness when applied to risk taking behaviors.

An Evaluation of Fusion Behavior Management System: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Based Classroom Management Behavioral Intervention

AUTUMN N. MCKEEL (Aurora University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Fusion Management System is a packaged intervention comprised of an individual based contingency management point system incorporated with daily participation in exercises related to the student?s challenging behaviors based completely from ACT. The classroom management intervention was implemented over the course of more than one school year in each classroom. The program was implemented within three behavior disorder classrooms in public schools, as well as four additional behavior disorder classrooms placed in an autism center. Teachers were trained on the implementation of the program, progress monitoring data was submitted to the experimenters continuously, and follow-up trainings were provided. Data collected included GPA scores, average points earned per week, attendance scores, and more. The data suggest that the ACT based protocols are successful in a behavior management program for children with emotional and behavioral challenges.

Combining a Differential Reinforcement Procedure with Acceptance and Commitment (ACT) Therapy to Treat Significant Aggression in an Adult with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Abstract: This project details the comprehensive treatment package for an adult with significant aggressive behavior towards staff and others. The individual was a 29 year old male with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. He had been in several psychiatric placements and required 24 hour supervision due to the level of risk that he presented to himself and others. A differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) procedure was implemented that involved the provision of behavioral coupons for the display of appropriate behavior over the course of the week. These coupons were then exchanged for movies, books, magazines and other items that were identified through a written reinforcer assessment that was administered to him prior to the project. His regimented and inflexible behavioral patterns were addressed through various components of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The primary dependent measures that were used during the course of the study were verbal threats, racial slurs, and physical aggression. The date show that he was able to decrease the aforementioned behavioral issues through the implementation of the treatment package described above.

Mindful of Your Significant Other? Discounting Sex with Others

RACHEL ENOCH (Southern Illinois University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

The current studies used temporal and probability discounting procedures to characterize choice behaviors regarding hypothetical sexual risk taking, monetary rewards, career choices, and family outcomes. The functions of sexual behaviors were assessed to determine whether functions maintaining sexual behaviors are a predictor of individual choice making outcomes. Participants were presented with probability and delay discounting choices regarding hypothetical sexual outcomes with cheating behaviors in which they made repeated choices between whether they preferred engaging in a sexual experience with their significant other or engaging in a sexual experience with a non-significant other with the probability of getting caught cheating being varied across conditions. Participants were also presented with choices between delayed monetary values, career choices, and family outcomes. The data suggests that cheaters and non-cheaters discount monetary, career choices, family outcomes, and sexual risks differently. The data depicting probability discounting shows that cheaters discount sexual quality at a steeper rate than non-cheaters. The relationship between monetary rewards, career choices, family outcomes, and sexual risks taking and the functions maintaining sexual behaviors is a relatively untapped area of research with few studies having investigated this societally relevant topic.




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