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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Paper Session #438
Behavior Analysis, Domestic Violence, and Classification of Life Problems
Monday, May 26, 2014
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
W179b (McCormick Place Convention Center)
Area: CBM
Chair: Martti T. Tuomisto (University of Tampere)

Behavioral Prediction of and Intervention Into Domestic Violence Against Women

Domain: Applied Research
AMBER KUZMA (Integrated Behavioral Services, Inc.), Brandon Greene (Shenandoah University), Dana Harvey (Integrated Behavioral Services, Inc.), Jennifer Dien (Integrated Behavioral Services, Inc.)

This series of studies describes the development of a behavioral assessment protocol to determine a woman's vulnerability to domestic violence and her ability to reduce that vulnerability through a multifaceted training program. The Categorical Analysis for the Risk of Exploitation (CARE) protocol, was developed consisting of 25 scenarios presented to women who were asked to describe how they would behave/react in various interpersonal situations. The CARE renders a clinical profile of a woman's vulnerability based on her responses to scenarios from five sources or categories of exploitation: physical, emotional, sexual, and personal dominance. A fifth category of scenarios was "neutral" (i.e., posed no risk) and served as a control. A woman's capacity to identify the risks and respond appropriately is measured when she is presented with scenarios from the CARE. These are presented in an "enticing" manner and the woman is asked to describe how she would respond. Her response is scored for the extent to which it accurately identifies the potential for problems, describes how the early signs of a problem could materialize into substantial risk, and whether she can identify an appropriate solution that would extricate her from the risk. Study I ascertained that the CARE differentiated women at risk for domestic violence (i.e., they had a protracted history of victimization) from those not at risk (i.e., they had no such history (Figure 1)). Study II involved the formulation and testing of a multifaceted intervention that would allow women to identify and extricate themselves from risky relationships. Intervention was individualized, but largely consisted of training in the areas of conflict resolution, problem solving and assertiveness. For several subjects (example in Figure 2), acquisition of these skills was measured and upon mastery the women's vulnerability to exploitation was reassessed with the CARE. Results indicated both the acquisition of self-advocacy/protection skills and the ensuing improvement of women's scores on the CARE.


Behavior Analysis and Behavior and Life Problems

Domain: Theory
MARTTI T. TUOMISTO (University of Tampere)

During the last few years psychiatric and medical diagnostic systems in the explanation of behavior and life problems have probably been discussed more than ever before. The latest version of the DSM (DSM 5) has led to a burst of statements of opinions. Behavior analysts may compete successfully in designing valid and reliable categories of behavior excesses, deficits, and strengths. Such a system could be recruited by the society, but to be comprehensive enough it should include as variables other life problems than only problems traditionally labeled as mental health problems (e.g., environmental, health and biological, and conceptual problems). This comprises all behaviors or behavior deficits relevant and necessary for developing a successful plan to improve target behaviors and life problems. The causes of behavior may be traced to the environment, because contingencies are causes of behavior. Thus, variables from different applied behavior analytic areas would be needed in the planning of problem alleviation (e.g., behavioral economics and behavioral medicine including economic, social and biobehavioral conditions). According to these premises, the author has designed a new classification of behavior and life problems called the Decimal System of Behavior and Life Problems (DSBLP) that is being empirically tested. This system has been presented in EABA (2012) and ABAI (2013) congresses and in the Finnish Journal of Behavior Analysis and Therapy (2010, 2013). The system categories are topographic-functional classes of lacking or non-adaptive behaviors or contingencies defined in behavior analytic terms. This system has clear category boarders that lead to categories that are mutually exclusive. The system enables classification of primary problems and problems that are a function of these (i.e. identification of the order of importance of the target behaviors or behavior deficits in links of behavioral instances in chains and concurrent behavioral chains competing with each other answering the question: Which behaviors to target first?) The primacy of the problem classification is partly dependent on coherent-pragmatic goals. The definitions and borders of the categories, required topographies, and functional properties of the categories as well as the potential value of the system for the dissemination of behavior analysis will be discussed.




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