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.


42nd Annual Convention; Downtown Chicago, IL; 2016

Event Details

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Symposium #437
CE Offered: BACB
Taking the Next Steps: Targeting Physical Activity Levels in Adults and Children
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Crystal Ballroom B, Hyatt Regency, Green West
Area: CBM/DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Wendy Donlin Washington (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Matthew P. Normand, Ph.D.

In both children and adults, physical activity has positive health benefits on overall health. However, according to the CDC, only 48% of adults engage in the recommended 150 minutes a week of physical activity. They also note that fewer than 30% of children get the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity a day. The World Health Organization estimates that globally, 3.2 million people die from health conditions due to physical inactivity per year. The development of behavioral interventions to increase physical activity could therefore have direct impacts on individual health, and potentially ease great financial burdens of physical inactivity in healthcare systems. The papers in this symposium target physical activity in children and in adults by altering activity choice or delivering reinforcers for improvements in physical activity. Specifically, the three papers address: 1) effects of activity choice on physical activity in children 2) using intermittent monetary reinforcement to increase walking in underactive adults, and 3) using tokens to increase walking in adults with intellectual disabilities.

Keyword(s): Exercise, Fitness, Inactivity, Physical Activity
Providing Young Children the Opportunity to Choose an Activity Does Not Result in More Physical Activity
MATTHEW P. NORMAND (University of the Pacific), Verena Boga (University of the Pacific)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to conduct a multi-element functional analysis to identify outdoor activity contexts that engendered higher levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) relative to a control condition, and to determine if providing an opportunity to choose an activity context would influence the amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity moderate to vigorous physical activity exhibited by six preschool-aged children. Results of the functional analysis demonstrated that, overall, fixed equipment and open space engendered the most moderate to vigorous physical activity across participants. The effect of activity choice was evaluated using an A-B-A-B design, with the results indicating that choice did not influence levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity and that the activity contexts chosen varied between and within participants. These results suggest that the type of outdoor activity context provided is more important than who chooses it.

Use of Intermittent Reinforcement of Money to Increase Walking in Adults: What Predicts Outcomes?

AMANDA DEVOTO (Western Michigan University/University of North Carolina), Kaitlyn Proctor (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Matthew Taylor (James Madison University/University of North Carolina Wilmington), Heather Fleuriet (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Wendy Donlin Washington (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Less than half of United States adults meet the physical activity guidelines given by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Interventions can be designed to increase physical activity, but may not work for everyone. The goals of the current study were to 1) develop a successful intervention to increase step counts in adults who walked fewer than 10,000/day during a baseline period and 2) investigate which individual and behavioral variables predict intervention outcome. An ABA changing criterion design was used during the five-week intervention. During the one week baselines, ten participants wore a Fitbit device that tracked activity but no goals or monetary reinforcement were given. During the three-week intervention phase, participants were given step goals based on their previous performance using a percentile schedule. If their goals were met, they could draw a ticket out of the prize bowl. Half the tickets were winners, and monetary prizes ranged from $1.50 to $50. Finally, a one-week return to baseline condition occurred. On average, there was ~41% improvement in step counts during the intervention phase. Delay discounting, age, baseline physical activity, exercise motivation, expectation of success, and percent body fat were investigated for predictive utility


Using Token Reinforcement to Increase Walking for Adults With Intellectual Disabilities

HALEY KRENTZ (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), Diego Valbuena (University of South Florida)

Adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at risk for negative health conditions due to high levels of sedentary behavior. Research is limited in evaluating physical activity interventions for this population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a token reinforcement intervention for increasing distance walked for adults with mild to moderate ID at an adult day training center. An ABAB reversal design was used with five participants to evaluate a token reinforcement intervention where participants earned tokens for walking 50 m laps, and exchanged tokens for backup reinforcers identified through preference assessments. Token reinforcement resulted in a noticeable increase from baseline in laps walked for four participants. Baseline levels were recovered once the intervention was removed, and treatment effects were replicated during the second treatment phase, demonstrating experimental control in 4 out of 5 participants.




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