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 #450
Assessment of Key Process Variables in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Monday, May 31, 2010
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Crockett C/D (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Aditi Sinha (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; Hayes, Strosahl. & Wilson, 1999) posits that the identification and pursuit of valued domains of living are important therapeutic mechanisms of change. Values-driven behavior, however, is often accompanied by the presence of aversive internal events. Experiential avoidance (EA), in theory, decreases one’s ability to engage in valuing and has been shown to mediate change in therapy (Ossman, Wilson, Storaasli & McNeill, 2006). The quest for empirical support of ACT mechanisms of change has resulted in self-report measures designed to assess them. In this symposium, empirical data from three studies measuring valuing and EA will be presented. Specifically, the psychometric properties of the Meta-Valuing Measure (MVM; Adcock, LaBorde, & Murrell, 2008) and The Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth (AFQ-Y; Greco, Murrell, & Coyne 2005) with adults, and the use of the Bulls-Eye with adolescents, will be described. The relationship between valuing and EA in these samples will also be discussed. Emphasis will be placed on important theoretical and operational considerations needed for the development of valid assessment measures, and these issues will be presented with invited discussion from audience members.
Measuring Valuing Using the Meta-Valuing Measure
AMANDA C. ADCOCK (University of North Texas), Cicely Taravella LaBorde (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The meta-valuing measure (MVM) is a 22-item self-report questionnaire designed to measure valuing in a flexible manner as is proposed by the acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) literature. The theory that valuing flexibly may be more beneficial than working solely on values identification was supported by data from a sample of undergraduates (Adcock, Murrell & Woods, 2007) which suggested that valuing many different life areas in a fluid manner was predictive of more positive outcomes and experiential avoidance was a mediator of the relationship. In order to fully understand this relationship of valuing flexibility with positive outcomes, a new measure had to be produced. The authors used both rational and empirical means to create a measure for this purpose—the MVM, which has shown good psychometric properties in a large undergraduate sample. The University of North Texas Institutional Review Board approved the project in which a variety of symptom and outcome measures were examined in relation to the new measure. The final factor structure and the psychometrics will be presented.
Validation of the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth With an Adult Sample
ADITI SINHA (University of North Texas), Jonathan Schmalz (University of North Texas), Amanda C. Adcock (University of North Texas), Cicely Taravella LaBorde (University of North Texas), Ben Ray Graham (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: The Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire for Youth (AFQ-Y) is a 17-item measure that was originally developed to measure experiential avoidance and fusion in children and adolescents. Considering the young target population, the items of the AFQ-Y were intentionally designed to enhance its comprehensibility, using more detailed setting events and less ACT-specific language than other, previously validated measures of experiential avoidance. Qualitative analysis, however, suggested that none of the items of the AFQ-Y were age specific. In order to explore the potential applicability of the measure to adults, the authors investigated the factor structure and validity of the AFQ-Y with an undergraduate sample. The resulting factor structure and psychometric properties of the AFQ-Y with an adult sample will be presented, as will its relationship with other measures of both psychological distress variables in general and with ACT specific variables in particular.
The Bull’s Eye Values Assessment With At-Risk Adolescents
VAISHNAVI KAPADIA (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas), Ryeshia Jackson (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Client identification of values is an important therapeutic exercise used with both adults and adolescents; when introduced at the onset of therapy, it provides information about what motivates a client to lead a vital and personally meaningful life (Murrell, Coyne, Wilson, 2004). In therapy, contrasting what value-consistent behavior looks like as compared to what the client’s current behavior looks like can facilitate the client to take action in the direction of valued living (Biglan, Hayes, & Pistorello, 2008). The Bull’s Eye Values Assessment was created in efforts to help children identify values and measure how consistently they were living in accordance with their values. Originally, it was presented as an experiential exercise in ‘ACT for Kids’, a 10-session Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) protocol for young children (Murrell & Wilson, 2002). This exercise produces a numerical measurement of the client’s value-consistent behavior which can be used to assess client progress during therapy and at the outcome of therapy. Later, a paper-pencil version of this exercise was developed; preliminary studies revealed good criterion related validity and test-retest validity of .86 (Lundgren, Dahl, Hayes, 2008; Lundgren, 2006). The current study examines the relationship of experiential avoidance and valuing in at-risk adolescents who attended a 10-session ACT group (n=9). The group was administered a paper-pencil version of the Bull’s Eye Values Assessment and the Avoidance and Fusion Questionnaire (AFQ-Y) pre and post therapy (AFQ-Y; Greco, Murrell, & Coyne, 2005). A life-size experiential Bull’s Eye Values Assessment was incorporated into the group protocol as well. Participants were not excluded or included based on diagnosis but all exhibited difficulty with behavioral and or school performance problems. Data analysis based on scores from the Bull’s Eye Values Assessment and the AFQ-Y reveal a significant correlation (r=.47, p=.10). Adaptations, implications, and future directions of this measure will be discussed. This study was approved by the University of North Texas Institutional Review Board.
We Are Measuring Something, but What Is It Really About?
JONATHAN SCHMALZ (University of North Texas), Karen Michelle O'Brien (University of North Texas), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Early acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) writing encouraged a functional analytic approach to psychotherapy. Bach and Moran (2008) further explicated the importance of functional analysis in ACT. Fundamental to functional analysis is the measurement of behaviors of interest in relation to a provided stimulus. Thus, ACT researchers have set about developing means for measuring the behaviors believed relevant to processes of change in therapy (e.g., the Hexaflex). The six components of the Hexaflex (Acceptance, Defusion, Contact with the Present, Self-as-context, Valuing and Committed action), in theory, are inter-mediating components of a meta-construct – psychological flexibility. But how distinct are these components and the behaviors they represent, both from each other and from psychological flexibility in general? Measures of acceptance, fusion, and committed action have been referred to as measures of psychological flexibility. Clearly, the operational definitions of these components need to be refined before they can be correctly measured. Furthermore, self-report measures are dubious from a strictly behavior analytic perspective as they may in fact be measuring behavior other than the “construct” of interest begging the question: are we even measuring anything useful? These issues will be presented in “town hall” fashion, encouraging audience member discussion and contributions.



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