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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #433
Development of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure for Use as a Treatment Outcome Measure
Monday, May 31, 2010
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
Lone Star Ballroom Salon D (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EAB; Domain: Experimental Analysis
Chair: Alix Timko (Towson University)
Abstract: The development of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP), an implicit measure grounded in Relational Frame Theory, has spurred a great deal of research on the implicit measurement of various attitudes and beliefs. As the validity and usefulness of the measure has been substantiated, the possibility of using the IRAP as a predictor of behavior and/or as a treatment outcome measure has been explored. However, before the IRAP can be used as an outcome measure, behavior-specific IRAPs must be developed and validated. The four studies presented in this symposium represent first steps in this direction. The development and validation of various IRAPs will be discussed: willingness to experience anxiety, body satisfaction and internalization of the thin ideal, and willingness to cease smoking. All IRAPs demonstrate preliminary validity and clinical usefulness. Difficulties in measurement development and future directions in IRAP research will be explored.
The Separable Functions of Smoking Versus Quitting-Related Beliefs: An Examination of Implicit Versus Explicit Expectations
NIGEL AUGUSTINE VAHEY (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Eugene Dunne (Towson University), Kelly Kamel (Towson University), Alix Timko (Towson University), Elizabeth Katz (Towson University), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth)
Abstract: To test the validity of two IRAP’s (i.e. quitting- versus smoking-related beliefs) in order to determine their utility as implicit outcome measures in a subsequent smoking-cessation trial. To test whether, the IRAP’s would discriminate between the known-groups of smokers and never-smokers. To compare how well implicit versus explicit measures predicted clinically relevant behavioral variables such as psychological avoidance, craving, nicotine dependence, and stages of change. Finally, we sought to examine whether smokers’ implicit expectations of quitting versus smoking contraindicate smoking-cessation in functionally separable ways. Known-groups comparisons among never-smokers, and smokers intending to quit versus not, on the smoking- and quitting-IRAP’s, and on self-report measures designed to be analogous to the IRAP’s (N = 126). The Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure required participants to alternate between making “consistent” responses and “inconsistent” responses (e.g. responding “True” and “False” respectively, to “I Need to Smoke when Upset”) at speed. The response-time differentials between consistent and inconsistent tasks indexed implicit bias. ANOVA and regression statistics provided significant effects strongly implicating implicit attitudes in smoking-persistence and relapse. The collective findings suggest that implicit smoking- and quitting-related expectancies are important in differentially undermining smoking-cessation, by respectively precipitating smoking-relapse and discouraging quit attempts.
Implicit Measurement of Internalization of the Thin Ideal
ADRIENNE JUARASCIO (Drexel University), Evan Forman (Drexel University), Meghan Butryn (Drexel University), James D. Herbert (Drexel University), Michael R. Lowe (Drexel University)
Abstract: Internalization of the thin ideal (ITI) is predictive of increases in body dissatisfaction, dieting, and disordered eating. ITI is typically measured by self report, which is subject to self-presentation strategies and can lead to inaccurate reporting. An implicit assessment procedure avoids these problems. Implicitly-measured ITI could be more strongly associated with disordered eating, body image dissatisfaction, and weight than explicitly-measured internalization. The current study sought to determine whether an Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure designed to measure ITI would be correlated with explicit measures of internalization body image dissatisfaction, disordered eating, and weight in a sample of 50 undergraduate women. The IRAP required participants to alternate between “consistent” responses and “inconsistent” responses (e.g. responding “True” and “False”) to silhouettes of heavy and thin women. Women in the study demonstrated lower than expected levels of internalization. Implicitly-measured ITI was correlated with explicit measures of internalization (r=.28, p<.05), disordered eating (r= .36, p<.05) and weight (r= -.26, p=.07). The IRAP developed for this study may be a valid tool for implicitly assessing ITI. Future research should be conducted to investigate the predictive utility of this IRAP and whether implicit measurement of ITI offers incremental validity over explicitly-measured ITI.
Implicit Assessment of Body Image: How Thin Do I Want to Be?
KERRY C. WHITEMAN (Towson University), Amy Neal (Towson University), Lauren Cubitt (Towson University), Caitlin Starling (Kenyon College), Alix Timko (Towson University)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine which sample term pairing (“I am"/"I want to be” or “I am"/"I should be”) is the most appropriate to use when assessing body image dissatisfaction with the implicit relational assessment procedure (IRAP). Furthermore, the study sought to determine whether or not reaction times on the IRAP correlate with explicit measures of body dissatisfaction. Comparisons were made between each participant’s scores on the “I am/I want” and the “I am/I should” IRAPs. Participants’ IRAP data was compared with their scores on the explicit measures. The IRAP required participants to respond either in a “consistent” or “inconsistent” manner (e.g. responding either “True” or “False” to the sample term). The difference in response-times is proposed to reflect an implicit bias. Preliminary results indicate that both IRAPs assess body dissatisfaction. The IRAP containing the samples “I am"/"I should be” did not correlate with any explicit measures. The IRAP containing the samples “I am”/”I want to be” was significantly correlated with greater body dissatisfaction (r = 0.47, p < 0.05), disordered eating (r = 0.43, p < 0.05) and less acceptance of body related experiences (r = -0.58, p < 0.05).
Using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure to Measure Acceptance of Anxiety
CHAD E. DRAKE (University of South Carolina Aiken), Jason Brian Luoma (Portland Psychotherapy Clinic, Research, & Training Center, PC), Amy Neal (Towson University), Kerry C. Whiteman (Towson University), William Ahern (Towson University), Alix Timko (Towson University)
Abstract: The IRAP and related instruments have traditionally been used to assess social biases. The extent to which the task could be tailored in such a way that it addresses a domain of behavior relevant to outcomes in a clinical context has not been well explored to date. This study involves an IRAP arranged to assess an inclination to accept feelings of anxiety or a desire to control such feelings. The procedure was administered to college undergraduates along with a battery of self-report questionnaires concerning anxiety symptoms, social support, alcohol consumption, distress tolerance, and psychological flexibility. Each participant completed two IRAPs. The first used sample terms relating to the self and others (“I, Me, Self” vs. "Them, Others”) with target words that could be classified as either calm or anxious. The second IRAP employed sample terms designed to tap into willingness to experience positive or negative affect (“I am willing to have” vs. "I try to get rid of”). Preliminary results indicate promise for both IRAPs and that the trial types may be particularly informative for the acceptance and willingness IRAP. The acceptance and willingness IRAP developed in this study shows promise for use as a treatment outcome measure.



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