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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #104
CE Offered: BACB
Emerging Trends in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Saturday, May 25, 2019
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Vevey 1/2
Area: CBM/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Dex West (Saint Louis University)
Discussant: Adam DeLine Hahs (Arizona State University)
CE Instructor: Adam DeLine Hahs, Ph.D.
Abstract: The current symposium seeks to showcase emerging new trends in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) approaches and conceptualization refinement of identified mechanisms of change. Each paper provides a unique approach to using ACT, and explicit targeting of psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility is a central mechanism for all ACT techniques, one that focuses on changing behavior in accordance with all stimuli and valued-based contingencies. The first paper will showcase emerging evidence in the validity of the Children’s Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire (CPFQ) with currently available psychometric's for children. The second paper explores the utility of ACT on children’s responses to a continues performance task (CPT-X). The third paper evaluates the relationship between derived relational responding and psychological flexibility, as measured with the CPFQ, with children with autism. Finally, the fourth paper explored the effects of an ACT body image self-help book on psychological flexibility and body-image avoidance behavior with participants with maladaptive body-image coping strategies. Attendees will gain first hand knowledge about new psychometric tools useful for measuring psychological flexibility, as well as new ACT intervention strategies.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ACT, derived relations, psychological flexibility
Target Audience: Board certified behavior analysts and assistant level certified behavior analysts.
Learning Objectives: At the end of the symposium, attendees will: 1. Identify useful psychometric surveys to use to measure psychological flexibility 2. Define mechanisms of change for psychological flexibility 3. Identify emerging trends in ACT research for behavior analysts 4. Label measures and measurement systems for ACT intervention strategies

Assessing Psychological Flexibility With Children: Current Measures and Future Directions

(Applied Research)
DANA PALILIUNAS (Missouri State University), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University)

Psychological flexibility is a central mechanism of change for therapeutic techniques that emphasize the relationship between human language and psychological suffering. Psychological flexibility can be described as persistence with or changing of behavior, in accordance with values-based contingencies, while contacting all stimuli, both public and private, in the present environment (e.g. Bond, Hayes, & Barnes-Holmes, 2006). In the context of Acceptance Commitment Therapy or Training, interventions are designed to increase this flexibility among individuals, including children with behavioral needs, and methods of assessment are necessary to examine the effects of such treatments. First, we examine the relationship between self-reports of psychological flexibility and language ability for a sample of children with and without autism and discuss the implications of this data in terms of treatment. Then, we explore psychological flexibility assessment measures currently available specifically for children, and relationship of these, such as the Children’s Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire, to other common measures of child behavior. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of possible future directions in the assessment of children’s psychological flexibility.

Use of an Acceptance and Commitment Training Curriculum to Target Psychological Flexibility, Attention, and Behavior Management
(Applied Research)
MARY RACHEL ENOCH (Antioch University New England )
Abstract: Acceptance and Commitment Training is an intervention that integrates mindfulness and acceptance with behavior change processes. Study one had 40 participants aged 6-12 years old. The study sought to demonstrate whether ACT activities increased particular attention processes. ACT participants (M = 5.4, SD = 9.8) showed fewer inaccuracies on the CPT-X task compared to the control group (M = 19.75, SD = 16.1) at posttest F (1, 38) = 11.49, p = .02, ηp² = .232. Study two had a total of 30 participants aged 7-12 years old. The study sought to determine if ACT camp increased psychological flexibility among the participants in the experimental group. The results of the AFQ-Y suggest there was significant difference in psychological flexibility between the experimental group (M=17.13, SD= 2.64) compared to the control group (M=27.4, SD=2.64) at posttest F (1, 28) = 7.53, p= .01, ηp²= .212. The third study is currently being conducted and includes 14 after school sites each with 60 participants. Staff were trained on an ACT curriculum and receive weekly coaching from a BCBA. Data is being collected on rates of problem behavior to determine if an ACT curriculum is effective in the afterschool setting to reduce rates of problem behavior.

Evaluating the Relationship Between Derived Relational Responding and the Children's Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire in Individuals With Autism Spectrum Disorders

(Basic Research)
JESSICA M HINMAN (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale), Mark R. Dixon (Southern Illinois University), Danielle Hilkey (Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Becky Barron (Southern Illinois University)

The current investigation evaluated the relationship between complex Derived Relational Responding and psychological flexibility in individuals of various ages diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or a related developmental disability. The Promoting the Emergence of Advanced Knowledge (PEAK) Relational Training System Transformation pre-assessment was used to measure Derived Relational Responding while psychological flexibility was measured using the Children’s Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire (CPFQ) which was reported by participants themselves and their caregivers. As data collection is still in the early stages and complete statistical analyses cannot yet be conducted, preliminary data suggests a relationship between the PEAK-T and CPFQ: Child and CPFQ: Caregiver assessments. Specifically, with a strong relationship between the PEAK-T and CPFQ: Caregiver assessment. These findings suggest that increased derived relational responding likely results in improved psychological flexibility as reported by the child and their caregiver which suggests a clinical utility in improving relational responding in individuals with ASD.


An Evaluation of an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-Based Self-Help Intervention for Body Image Inflexibility

(Basic Research)
JADE CAMPBELL (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Body image involves the experience of one’s body, and body image disturbance occurs when one’s experience of body image is particularly painful and disruptive to daily living. Body image flexibility seems to be an important component for reducing body image disturbance. In recent years, there has been an increase in the interest of using self-help manuals as an alternative to interpersonal therapy for treating body image disturbance. The presented study aimed to help individuals struggling with their body image utilizing a self-help book based in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Participants who reported body image disturbance during prescreen evaluations were invited to partake in an eight-week self-help program designed to increase body-image flexibility and reduce maladaptive body-image coping strategies. Changes in target behaviors were assessed via self-report data collected online at five different intervals: 1) prescreening (baseline); 2) midway through the readings (week 4); 3) upon completion of the readings (week 8); 4) 4-week follow-up (week 12); 5) 16-week follow-up (week 24). In general, participants exhibited improvements in body-image flexibility and reductions in body-image avoidance behavior over the course of treatment and beyond. Individual-level outcomes will be presented in detail and further implications discussed.




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