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 #22
CE Offered: BACB
Current Applications of Applied Behavior Analysis in the Military and Veteran Community
Sunday, May 29, 2016
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Montreux, Swissotel
Area: CSE/CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Kent A. Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)
CE Instructor: Kent A. Corso, Psy.D.
Abstract: The current applications of applied behavior analysis (ABA) discussed in this symposium call attention to many of the social issues inherent in the practice of ABA with members of the military and veteran population. All presenters address the social significance of each problem they discuss, while explaining the potential benefits that ABA poses in understanding these problems and deriving potential behavioral solutions. The proposed solutions and future directions are intended to improve human social functioning within the military and veteran community, while also improving how those outside the community understand this population. Each author discusses issues ranging from the assessment and intervention of traumatic brain injury to the functional analysis of gambling within this population. Finally, there is a discussion about the greater civilian community’s perceptions of the military and law enforcement community and how this is influenced by recent controversial media reports of lethal use of force among police officers.
Keyword(s): gambling, law enforcement, military/veteran, TBI

Investigating Relationships Among Veterans' Service Experiences, Functions of Behavior, and Problem Gambling

SETH W. WHITING (Yale University), Marc Potenza (Yale University), Sherry McKee (Yale University), Carolyn Mazure (Yale University), Rani Hoff (Department of Veterans Affairs)

Gambling disorder is more common in military veterans than in the general population, but little is known about how military experiences affect gambling behavior. The present study investigated relationships among military service factors, problem gambling, and functions of gambling behavior in veterans. Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn (n=738) completed the Deployment Risk and Resilience Inventory which measured environmental factors and experiences pre-, peri-, and post-deployment, and other clinical assessments. A subset (N=156) completed the Gambling Functional Assessment (GFA). Approximately 4.2% of veterans indicated at-risk or probable pathological gambling (ARPG) and showed greater probabilities of escape-related conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, substance dependence, panic disorder, and depression. For service experiences, those with ARPG reported higher general harassment during deployment, and lower social support and more stressful life events post-deployment. The GFA most frequently identified attention and tangible functions for gambling, and the rate of escape-maintained gambling mirrored the rate of ARPG. The study suggests problem gambling is a significant concern among veterans is related to several aspects of veteran experiences. How behavior analysis can contribute to treatment in this population via functional analyses and function-based interventions will be discussed.


Further Development of a Verbal Behavior-Based Assessment Instrument for Military and Veterans With Traumatic Brain Injury

THEODORE A. HOCH (George Mason University), Kent A. Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)

To date there have been 327,299 diagnoses of traumatic brain injury (TBI) since the wars began in 2001 (Congressional Research Report, 2015). Current methods of assessing TBI include neuropsychological assessment batteries which adequately reveal areas of deficit in language functioning. Yet these methods are not closely tied to the therapies used during rehabilitation, which include: speech and language pathology services; rest, relaxation, and avoidance of stress and substances. By contrast, verbal behavior assessments have been used to measure the functioning of operant learning channels in other populations and yield more specific information about possible interventions for rehabilitation. Given the absence of verbal behavior assessment and intervention tools for typically developing individuals, the authors present data on the first phase of development of the Verbal Operant Channel Assessment of Learning for Military and Veterans (VOCAL-MilVet). The authors connect current neuropsychological diagnostic terms with verbal behavior terminology. Next, the authors explain the results of administering the pilot instrument to a sample of veterans with and without TBI, while presenting specific items which characterize the various channels assessed by the instrument. Finally, implications for future instrument development and intervention for TBI are discussed.


Law Enforcement and Media Reports: Discrepancies and Social Implications

Amy D. Wiech (ABC Group, Inc. Hawaii), JAMES MEADOR (Grand Canyon University), Kent A. Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)

Police force occurs in less than 1.5% of police-citizen contacts (Miller, 2015). Yet, high profile deadly force incidents such as the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray shootings have sparked national debates and public outcry. Applied behavior analysis (ABA) includes the human behaviors of media consumption and opinion formation, which bear social relevance on other behaviors such as voting, political activism, and other social behavior (Cooper, Heron and Heward, 2007). This study examines the recent trends in media coverage of lethal use of force and the known patterns of police lethal use of force using the standard celeration chart. The authors contend that media reports of lethal conflict between law enforcement and suspects are discrepant from the raw data of these trends. These same relationships are observed on celeration charts as many media reports erroneously portray these lethal encounters as unlawful. The authors discuss the negative impact that these media reports bear on the social exchanges and overall perception between the police and the public (Bolgiano, Banks, and Patterson, 2015). The authors suggest several behavior analytic solutions to improve perceptions, encourage objective assessment of media coverage, and improve relations between police and the community at large.




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