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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #347
CE Offered: BACB
Research Examining Strategies to Mitigate Resurgence
Sunday, May 26, 2019
5:00 PM–6:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom A
Area: DDA/EAB; Domain: Translational
Chair: Yaara Shaham (Florida Institute of Technology; The Scott Center for Autism Treatment )
Discussant: Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Sarah E. Bloom, M.S.

Resurgence is the return of a previously extinguished response due to discontinuation or reduction in rate of reinforcement of a more recently reinforced alternative response. Resurgence has been used to model treatment relapse due to treatment-integrity errors resulting from the failure to reinforce alternative responses. In this symposium, we will consider several approaches to modifying differential reinforcement of alternative responding (DRA) and the effect on the mitigation of resurgence in basic and translational research. The first presentation compares the effect of five concurrently available alternative responses to a single alternative response on the mitigation of resurgence using rats. The second presentation compares the effect of serial-DRA training with more typical single-DRA in a laboratory experiment with children. The third presentation compares the effect of serial-response training with concurrent-response training in a laboratory setting with university students. The final presentation examines multiple-mand training and a lag schedule with functional communication training in an applied setting involving participants diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): DRA, relapse, resurgence, translational research
Target Audience:

Practitioners, teachers, applied researchers, translational researchers, and basic researchers

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to 1. Define relapse and resurgence. 2. Describe some techniques aimed to mitigate resurgence. 3. State the clinical applications of resurgence studies involving rats as well as university students.
Multiple Concurrent Alternative Responses Fail to Reduce Resurgence of Food-Seeking in Rats
(Basic Research)
RUSTY NALL (Utah State University), Timothy A. Shahan (Utah State University)
Abstract: Resurgence is the relapse of a previously-suppressed target behavior following the worsening of reinforcement conditions for an alternative behavior. Alternative reinforcement is a common component of treatment for clinically-relevant problem behaviors. Thus, when alternative reinforcers are omitted due to treatment lapses or cessation, problem behavior is susceptible to resurgence. There is mixed evidence that training multiple alternative behaviors may mitigate resurgence. There are at least two potential explanations for this effect. First, because overall rate of reinforcement is not typically controlled in studies reinforcing multiple alternative behaviors, differences in reinforcer rates may explain differences in resurgence. Second, response competition may explain lower resurgence rates when multiple sources of alternative reinforcement are used. The present study was designed to evaluate these possibilities. Rats were first trained to press levers for food. Next, lever pressing was extinguished, and alternative reinforcement was programmed for a single alternative or five simultaneously-available alternatives at the same rate across groups. Finally, alternative responding was extinguished while target responding remained on extinction. Resurgence occurred for both groups at similar rates, suggesting that alternative reinforcer rate was responsible for determining the magnitude of resurgence. Implications of these results for clinical application and theories of resurgence will be discussed.
Reinforcing Multiple Alternative Responses to Mitigate Resurgence in Children
(Applied Research)
WEIZHI WU (Florida Institute of Technology), Kelsey Lynn Purcell (Kaleidoscope Interventions; Florida Institute of Technology), Ashley Shuler (Florida Institute of Technology), Cheyenne Dong (Florida Institute of Technology), Shana Fentress (Florida Institute of Technology), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Resurgence is a type of treatment relapse that occurs when an extinguished behavior reappears once reinforcement for a more recently reinforced behavior is reduced or eliminated. Resurgence of problem behavior often occurs when treatment-integrity errors are made during the implementation of differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA). Training multiple alternative responses with serial-DRA training shows a promise in mitigating resurgence of problem behavior compared to training only a single response. This study used laboratory methods to systematically replicate previous studies comparing the effects of more typical, single-DRA training with serial-DRA training on the magnitude of resurgence. The present experiment included children as participants, topographically different target and alternative responses, and counterbalanced independent conditions. Less resurgence was observed in the serial-DRA condition than traditional DRA for one out of three participants. However, serial-DRA training increased the total amount of responding observed during the resurgence phase, while decreasing the overall percentage allocated to target responding. Findings from this study expand upon current literature on possible techniques to mitigate resurgence when using DRA treatment.
Serial and Concurrent Response Presentation: Their Effects on Resurgence
(Applied Research)
MICHAEL KRANAK (Western Michigan University), Stephanie M. Peterson (Western Michigan University), Claire C. St. Peter (West Virginia University)
Abstract: Serial response training (SRT) may mitigate resurgence of a target response when compared to teaching a single alternative response. However, the necessity of the serial presentation of alternatives is yet to be determined. We hypothesized teaching alternative responses at the same time (concurrent response training [CRT]) may be as effective as, and more efficient than, SRT. We used a multielement design embedded within an ABC paradigm in a human operant arrangement in three studies. Thirty undergraduate students enrolled in a psychology course participated. In Study 1, we compared CRT to differential reinforcement of a single alternative response (traditional DRA). In Study 2, we compared CRT, SRT, and traditional DRA. In Study 3, we implemented CRT and made real-time, data-based decisions regarding phase length rather than standard a priori phase-change criteria. We found both CRT and SRT resulted in greater persistence of alternative responses and suppression of target responses than traditional DRA. However, CRT mitigated resurgence of target responding better than SRT. This experiment suggests investigating CRT with clinically-relevant behavior may prove fruitful as a modification to differential reinforcement procedures.
Variations of Functional Communication Training and Their Effects on Resurgence
(Applied Research)
BRITTANY SCHMITZ (University of Missouri; Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders ), SungWoo Kahng (Rutgers University), Casey J. Clay (University of Missouri; Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders ), Savannah Tate (University of Missouri; Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders ), Bethany P. Contreras Young (Middle Tennessee State University )
Abstract: A common treatment that is implemented to decrease problem behavior and increase appropriate behavior in individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is functional communication training (FCT; Carr & Durand, 1985). Although demonstrated to be highly effective, it is possible that procedures will not be implemented with fidelity by caregivers in the natural environment. In these situations, functional communicative responses (FCRs) are likely to undergo extinction, increasing the likelihood of the resurgence of problem behavior (e.g., Fisher et al., 1993; Hanley, Iwata, & Thompson, 2001). In applied contexts, the resurgence of problem behavior during temporary lapses in procedural fidelity represents a reality for which there are currently few solutions (Lambert et al., 2017). One possible treatment for resurgence of problem behavior in the face of extinction challenges is multiple mand training during FCT. The purpose of this study was to evaluate what effect teaching multiple FCRs as outlined in serial FCT by Lambert, Bloom, Samaha, and Dayton (2017) had on resurgence of problem behavior and FCRs during extinction challenges. Researchers then evaluated what effect implementing a lag schedule of reinforcement following serial FCT had on resurgence of problem behavior and FCRs during extinction challenges compared to serial FCT.



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