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 #276a
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Medicine SIG Presents: A Sampling of Current Research in Behavioral Medicine and Health Promotion
Monday, May 30, 2016
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Crystal Ballroom C, Hyatt Regency, Green West
Area: CBM/PRA; Domain: Translational
Chair: Gretchen A. Dittrich (Simmons College)
Discussant: Richard K. Fleming (University of Massachusetts Boston)
CE Instructor: Gretchen A. Dittrich, Ph.D.

Behavioral medicine is an interdisciplinary field that utilizes behavior analytic principles and methodology to identify behaviors associated with health and disease states, identify the controlling variables, and increase behaviors associated with improved health outcomes and decrease behaviors associated with illness and disease states. There are myriad studies investigating behavioral interventions to improve behaviors associated with health and disease, including blood glucose monitoring in diabetes, substance use, dietary intake, feeding disorders and food selectivity, disordered eating, sedentary and physical activity, sleeping challenges, dental hygiene, and chronic pain management. Furthermore, behavioral medicine research also targets preventative techniques to avoid health-related issues, such as early screening and self-screening for cancer, following specific recommendations for dietary consumption and physical activity to prevent obesity and other related illnesses, and accident prevention in elderly, pediatric, and work populations. Treatment adherence may also be targeted during routine medical procedures, in continued care for health conditions, such as diabetes, and following injury (e.g., compliance with physical therapy). Behavior analysts are well-equipped to address these problems of public health, yet many studies in behavioral medicine are published outside of behavior analytic journals. The purpose of this symposium is to highlight current and diverse research in the area of behavioral medicine, and to provide attendees an opportunity to hear from established researchers in the field.

Keyword(s): Behavioral dentistry, Behavioral Medicine, Obstetrics, Sleep problems

Assessment and Treatment of Sleep Problems of Young Children: Application of Behavioral Medicine

SANDY JIN (Eastern Connecticut State University), Melanie Byrne (Eastern Connecticut State University), Royce Manifold (Eastern Connecticut State University)

Sleep problems are prevalent in typically-developing children and children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. These problems negatively impact the health and development of youths and present challenges to parents, caregivers, and clinicians. Pharmacological interventions are commonly recommended despite limited research on their efficacy and social acceptability. Behavioral interventions shows merit as a promising alternative but has yet to draw to focus of mainstream treatment providers. We will discuss the assessment and treatment of sleep problems as an area of application of Behavioral Medicine. Efficacy data of behavioral intervention with and without pharmacological intervention on the sleep problems (i.e., sleep onset delay, night and early wakings, and problem behaviors that interfere with sleep) of children diagnosed with and without autism are presented.

Momentary Prompting and Modeling of Behavior-Based Labor Strategies
ASHLEY EDEN GREENWALD (University of Nevada, Reno), W. Larry Williams (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The Cesarean Epidemic is categorized by the increasing cesarean section rate in the U.S., currently 30.8% (Boyle et al., 2013), which is in stark contrast to the 5% cesarean rate during the early 1970’s (Goer & Romano, 2012). The “cascade of interventions” resulting from an otherwise healthy women utilizing non-medically-necessary but often routine pain medications during labor contribute to the U.S.’s poor outcomes in maternal and infant health. A troubling statistic released by the United Nations in September of 2010 placed the U.S. 50th in the world for maternal mortality, higher than almost all European countries (WHO, 2010; Coeytaux, Bingham & Langer, 2011). In a report summarizing the World Health Organization’s principles of perinatal care, appropriate methods for pain relief are all suggested to be behavioral (Chalmers, Mangiaterra & Porter, 2001). However, skills learned during childbirth education are difficult to generalize and the unavailability of ongoing labor support are major contributing factors in high requests for pain medication (Goer & Ramano, 2012). This talk addresses these concerns using a contingency analysis as well as results from an empirical study utilizing a behavior analytic software program for labor support during unmedicated labor.

A Review of a Program of Research in Behavioral Dentistry

KEITH D. ALLEN (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center)

Compliance with medical/dental routines is an important part of basic health care for everyone. Many diseases and illnesses are preventable or treatable, but the benefits only accrue if patients cooperate with the procedures involved in the delivery of care. Unfortunately, many children do not cooperate. This presentation will review both the respondent and operant components of medical/dental noncompliance and the common treatments for promoting compliance. The presentation will then review a program of research in applied behavior analysis (both small n and RCT) that follows the development and empirical validation of applications based on negative reinforcement in treatment of noncompliance with routine dental care in every day practice.


Current Publication Trends in Behavioral Medicine Research

GRETCHEN A. DITTRICH (Simmons College), Richard K. Fleming (University of Massachusetts Boston)

The field of behavioral medicine focuses on identifying the variables associated with health and disease states, and manipulating those variables to facilitate change in the behaviors relatedto improved health status. The variety of research within the behavioral medicine field is extensive. However, trends in current publication data suggest much of the research within the field is published outside of behavior analytic fora. The current presentation will review the state of behavioral medicine research in the field of behavior analysis and in other related fields. Data reviewed will focus onpublication trends in behavioral medicine research, provide an overview of health behaviors of interest, offer suggestions for future publications, and emphasize theneed to continue disseminating research both in behavior analyticjournals and conferences.




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