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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #418
CE Offered: BACB
A Systems Approach to Acceptance and Commitment Training-Based Interventions: Children, Parents, and Staff
Monday, May 30, 2022
8:00 AM–9:50 AM
Meeting Level 2; Room 205A
Area: EDC/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Brittany A Sellers (Missouri State University)
Discussant: Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University)
CE Instructor: Dana Paliliunas, Ph.D.

Despite great technological advances in education and care for children, mental health disorders and challenges are on the rise, and these effects were exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Behavioral interventions that promote psychological flexibility, such as acceptance and commitment training, mindfulness, and self-compassion training could be applied throughout the educational, familial, and therapy systems with students and their caregivers. This symposium contains four presentations that demonstrate the use of such behavioral approaches applied at multiple system levels. The first discusses the convergent and divergent validity of the Child Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire [CPFQ], and the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth [AFQ-Y] as measures of psychological flexibility in children. The second discusses the efficacy of a remote ACT intervention embedded within special education programming in schools. The third evaluates a parent training program guided by the ACT matrix with parents of a diverse background on parental engagement in treatment, distress, and psychological flexibility. The final talk will overview a self-compassion and mindfulness training program to support staff working with individuals with disabilities to evaluate changes in burnout, self-compassion, and psychological flexibility. Taken together these talks emphasize the importance of interventions embedded within whole systems to influence meaningful change.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): ACT, ACT Matrix, Self Compassion, Systems
Target Audience:

Behavior analysts, students, and faculty

Learning Objectives: (1) describe the construct of psychological flexibility; (2) discuss applications of ACT with students and families; (3) describe an application of mindfulness and self-compassion training with staff

CANCELED: Validation, Implementation, and Integration of the Children's Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire into School-Based Settings

KRISTINA ANEXOVA (University of Western Ontario), Albert Malkin (Southern Illinois University / Western University)

Psychological flexibility is a core construct in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. The Children’s Psychology Flexibility Questionnaire (CPFQ) is a newly developed measure of this construct in youth which requires validation. The current study evaluates the convergent and divergent validity between the CPFQ and the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth (AFQ-Y) in a school setting. A sample of neurotypical and neuroatypical children with diagnoses ranging from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Learning Disorder (LD), Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) completed the measures. Results show a significant correlation between the CPFQ and the AFQ-Y (r = .489, p <.001). Differences in the psychometric properties of the CPFQ (a = .652) and the AFQ-Y (a = .851) are discussed, with further analysis of item-level properties. These results replicate and extend previous findings that support the validity of the CPFQ. The value of measurement tools utilizing child-specific language to measure psychological flexibility, recommendations for future directions in validity testing, and the further relevance to the challenges in implementation of psychological flexibility assessments in school-aged youth (via the AIM curriculum) will be discussed.


CANCELED: Infusing Acceptance and Commitment Training in Special Education Programming for Children and Adolescents With Autism

KAYLEE LILEY (Missouri State University), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

Few studies have measured the effects of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy(ACT)on challenging behavior and psychological flexibility in children with autism. In the current study we evaluated the efficacy of a low intensity remote ACT intervention implemented with six children with autism. ACT sessions were adapted from the Accept - Identify - Move social-emotional training curriculum. Intervention progression was determined by the ranking of the children's psychological flexibility questionnaire (CPFQ) scores across the six domains of ACT. Implementers targeted the highest component score for the first week and progressed by descending score value. At each point of transition an additional week was added to the treatment time to allow more training for the components with lower scores and CPFQ scores were probed before proceeding. Results indicated mixed outcomes across the participants with overall improvements in challenging behavior and psychological flexibility over the course of the intervention.


Online Acceptance and Commitment Training Matrix for Japanese-Speaking Parents With Distress in the United States

YUKIE KURUMIYA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Yors A. Garcia (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Thomas G. Szabo (Touro University)

Parental distress and coercive parent-child interactions are of major issues in our society. Cultural biases, stigma, and language barriers keep Asian-American parents and children away from mental and behavioral services. Behavior parent training (BPT) as part of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services are usually available to parents and children if their child has a diagnosis, but not for parents of children without diagnoses. Research in the area of parent-child interactions suggests a combination of BPT and acceptance and commitment training (ACT) as an effective preventative intervention alleviates parental distress and fosters positive parent-child interactions. However, limited research is available that examined the effectiveness of preventative ACT-based interventions for this population. Thus, the current study evaluated the effects of the individual ACT Matrix online training for Japanese-speaking distressed parents in the U.S., using a single-subject design. Specific dependent variables measured were value-driven behaviors, parental engagement in treatment, parental distress, and psychological flexibility. The results revealed that the ACT Matrix training was effective in improving all four dependent variables. Parents reported that the training was culturally sensitive, effective, and appropriate in the social validity questionnaire. Implications for incorporating ACT in ABA services as part of BPT will be discussed.??


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Training With Staff Who Work with Individuals With Disabilities

JESSICA M VENEGONI (Missouri State University ), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

The effects of work-related issues are cited as a significant source of stress reported by most Americans. Disability support staff are exposed to stressful work environments which may put them at an increased risk of burnout and distress above and beyond many other workplace settings. The current study sought to evaluate the efficacy of a 6-week mindfulness and self-compassion training on reported levels of self-compassion, stress and burnout, psychological well-being, and workplace moral of the research participants. The efficacy of the intervention was evaluated using a cross-over design wherein a subset of participants received the active intervention while the other participants did not. After 6-weeks, the experimental conditions were flipped to ensure all participants access the mindfulness and self-compassion training. Results suggested that self-compassion and mindfulness training can influence measures of self-compassion, stress, and burnout in staff working with individuals with disabilities. These results also have implications for supporting flexibility and self-compassion within disability support staff and in workplace settings the frequently employ applied behavior analysts.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh