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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #121
Getting Adults Moving! Evaluating the Use of Feedback, Goal-Setting, Deposit Contracts, and Various Schedules of Reinforcement to Increase Physical Activity
Saturday, May 26, 2018
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom G
Area: CSS/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kelly M. Banna (Millersville University of Pennsylvania)
Discussant: Wendy Donlin Washington (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

This symposium addresses various intervention packages to increase physical activity among populations of typically developing adults. Physical activity targets included total steps per day, the distribution of physical activity during work hours, and running distance. Interventions consisted of some combination of education, feedback, goal-setting, prompting, contingency management, and deposit contracts. All studies collected data with some model of a Fitbit (e.g., Zip, One). Each paper presents a novel methodology to increase physical activity.

Instruction Level: Intermediate

The Effects of Escalating Versus Non-Escalating Schedules of Reinforcement on Increasing Physical Activity in Adults

KELLY M. BANNA (Millersville University of Pennsylvania), Rebecca Lurie (State University of New York, Binghamton), Wendy Donlin Washington (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

The present study evaluated the effects of escalating versus non-escalating schedules of reinforcement on increasing physical activity in typically-developed, healthy adults using an A-B-A design. In the escalating condition, the value of rewards increased for each consecutive day that goals were met and the reward value reset when participants failed to meet daily goals. In the non-escalating condition, the magnitude of rewards remained static throughout the experimental phase. Total potential earnings was held constant across the two conditions, and both included a bonus for meeting goals on three consecutive days. Physical activity was defined as the number of steps taken each day, and was measured using Fitbit One� activity trackers. While step counts were higher during the intervention than baseline periods, there were no between-group differences in percent increase in step counts, number of goals met, or maximum number of continuous goals met during the intervention phase.


Shaping Up at Work! Evaluating the Effects of Education, Feedback, Goal-Setting, and Prompting to Increase Workplace Physical Activity

NICHOLAS GREEN (University of Florida), Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)

Behavior analysts have had success measuring fitness related behaviors such as increasing step counts, improving sport-specific performance, and helping individuals lose weight. However, these target behaviors only comprise a small portion of an individual's waking day. The need to address total sedentary duration is warranted due to association with increases in preventable diseases and increased mortality (Diaz et al., 2017). This paper describes a methodology to reduce sedentary time in the workplace for sedentary office workers. An intervention package consisting of education, feedback, and goal-setting produced desired results for 2/6 participants.


Comparison of a Mobile Versus In-Person Deposit Contract Intervention for Increasing Physical Activity

LISA M STEDMAN-FALLS (University of Florida), Jesse Dallery (University of Florida)

Deposit contract interventions are effective for promoting health behavior and related outcomes; however, the procedures require frequent interactions, which may be cumbersome. To reduce effort and costs associated with in-person meetings, some researchers have delivered deposit contract components using advanced technologies, such as mobile phones. However, no study has evaluated a fully remote, mobile deposit contract intervention. Self-report data collected by our laboratory suggests that mobile deposit contracts may be less acceptable than in-person ones. The purpose of the present study was to experimentally compare the acceptability, and efficacy, of mobile versus in-person deposit contracts for promoting health behavior. Through counterbalanced reversal designs across participants, we used mobile and in-person deposit contracts to successfully increase physical activity (measured using Fitbits) with five participants. Our results showed no clear difference in efficacy between the two treatment modalities; however, preference was greater for mobile treatment delivery. We discuss implications for technology-based behavior analytic services and potential avenues for future research.


Evaluating the Effectiveness of Goal Setting and Textual Feedback for Increasing Running Distance

DIEGO VALBUENA (University of South Florida), Michael Zarate (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)

Obesity is a growing problem that has life-threatening health consequences. One way to combat obesity is by increasing physical activity levels, which has been a focus of recent applied behavioral research. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of goal setting and textual feedback without social support for increasing physical activity, specifically weekly running distance. A multiple-baseline across participants design was employed with four participants using a Fitbit Flex accelerometer to collect two physical activity measures, intense steps and distance. Results showed an increase in weekly running distance for all participants following the intervention.




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