Behavioral medicine is an interdisciplinary field including the sciences of biology, psychology, physiology, nutrition, and nursing, to name a few. While the definition varies between professionals and sciences, behavioral medicine is largely defined as the environmental approach to treatment of disease and other health related conditions. Behavior analysts, while having huge potential to contribute to the growing field of behavioral medicine, publish most of their work in behavior analytic journals, exclusively. This soloed approach to the science of behavior analysis makes dissemination and collaboration between fields challenging, especially a field like behavioral medicine, where the contributions are largely interdisciplinary. This paper presentation examines the recent trends in behavior analysis with regard to behavioral medicine, behavioral medicine journal publications, and presentations at the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the Association for Behavior Analysis International conferences. An analysis of Behavioral Medicine as an independent science will be provided and recommendations for conducting and disseminating interdisciplinary behavior analytic work between will be discussed.
Pediatric encopresis is a childhood disorder that is extremely debilitating for children and their families, and it can be very difficult to treat successfully. Many children are resistant to initial treatment efforts, and currently there are no well-established evidence-based treatment recommendations for pediatric encopresis (van Dijk et al., 2007). The limited evidence on encopresis treatment suggests that protocols that include comprehensive behavioral interventions as well as intensive medical management strategies are the most successful (McGrath, Mellon, & Murphy, 2000). Additionally, there is little research about the influence of factors such as comorbid behavior problems, the quality of the parent-child relationship, and parental tolerance of the child on the course and the treatment of chronic encopresis. The present series of data analyses served to evaluate the effectiveness of a manualized, parent-administered treatment protocol for chronic encopresis and also investigate changes in important contextual factors (e.g., behavior problems, parental tolerance, quality of the parent-child relationship) across treatment. Eleven parents of children meeting diagnostic criteria for encopresis were included in the present research. Participants reported that their children (age range 4 to 10 years old; M = 7 years; SD = 2.12; 63% male) had been struggling with soiling for an average of about 36 months (SD = 20.94). Following one month of parent-administered treatment, all participants (100%) reported improvements in their child's soiling. Overall, participants reported an 81% reduction in soiling from baseline. The present research is associated with a cure rate of 45% (5 participants were accident-free for the last two weeks of data collection). Findings suggest that a parent-administered treatment for encopresis may not only be effective, it may work very quickly to reduce soiling episodes and to increase independently-initiated bowel movements. Results also indicate that the treatment of encopresis is associated with a reduction of parent-reported behavior problems (both internalizing and externalizing), changes in parental perceptions of the child's soiling, and stability in the parent-child relationship at post-treatment. The present research employed novel data collection techniques (with participants tracking behavior daily online), and findings contribute to a nuanced understanding of the encopretic child and his or her family.