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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #479
CE Offered: BACB
Improving Safety-Related Behavior of Employees and Caregivers During Episodes of Aggression
Monday, May 25, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Marquis, Level M4, Capitol/Congress
Area: OBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
CE Instructor: Jennifer N. Fritz, Ph.D.

Aggressive behavior can pose serious risks, including bodily injury to others, hospitalizations, and encounters with law enforcement. Some risks can be reduced by responding in ways to keep others safe, such as wearing protective equipment or engaging in personal protective behaviors (e.g., blocking, evading, etc.). This symposium will address various strategies for improving safety-related behaviors of staff and caregivers during episodes of aggression. Specifically, employees were taught to wear protective equipment (study 1), caregivers were taught to respond in particular ways to situations in which precursors to aggression occur (study 2), and caregivers were taught personal protection skills (e.g., blocking and evading) during aggressive episodes (study 3).

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): aggression, BST, protective equipment, safety-related skills
Target Audience:

Researchers and practitioners (e.g., BCBAs)


Analysis and Treatment to Increase Adherence With Safety Guidelines for Employees Working in Human Services

SHANTEL PUGLIESE (The Faison Center), Byron J. Wine (The Faison Center), Christopher Morgan (The Faison Center), Trang Doan (The Faison Center), Jody Liesfeld (The Faison Center), Nicholas Vanderburg (The Faison Center), Eli T. Newcomb (The Faison Center)

Employees working in human service organizations serving individuals who engage in high intensity aggression are more susceptible to sustaining injuries throughout the course of their workday. These types of organizations often require employees to adhere to safety guidelines, which may include utilizing protective equipment to minimize the severity of injuries if client-to-staff contact does occur. Despite protective equipment being prescribed in clients’ treatment plans at a private day school, employees were often observed engaging in at-risk performance by working with clients without the prescribed protective equipment. To assess the variables maintaining at-risk performance demonstrated by direct care staff, we administered the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Safety (PDC-S) across 3 classrooms. Results from the PDC-S varied by classroom and individualized treatment packages were implemented in each classroom utilizing a multiple baseline design. Results indicated increases in the use of prescribed protective equipment and will be discussed in tandem with lagging indicators and outcomes.

Teaching Caregivers to Respond Safely during Precursors to Aggression
YUHUI MICHELLE WANG (University of Houston-Clear Lake ), Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Caitlyn Nichole Metoyer (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Justin Charles Hunt (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Victoria Fletcher (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: Individuals who engage in aggression often display precursors or agitated behavior, and it is important for caregivers to learn how to minimize risk of injury during these episodes in the event that aggression were to occur. In this study, behavioral skills training was used to teach caregivers of children who engage in aggression to position their body safely (shield others who enter the space and move out of reach of an aggressive individual) and prevent access to dangerous items during agitated states. All caregivers quickly learned these skills and minor feedback was necessary for all caregivers post-training following one or two sessions.
Personal Protection Skills Training for Caregivers during Aggressive Episodes
NING CHEN (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Jennifer N. Fritz (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Victoria Fletcher (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Alexis Marcouex (University of Houston-Clear Lake), Justin Charles Hunt (University of Houston-Clear Lake)
Abstract: Behavioral skills training (BST) has been effective in teaching caregivers and staff members a variety of different skills. There is a paucity of behavior analytic research examining the effects of BST to teach caregivers strategies to keep themselves safe during episodes of aggression. Using a multiple baseline design, the present study examined the effects of BST on teaching three caregivers of children who engage in aggression to block and evade hits and kicks, as well as maneuver out of situations in which they are pressed into a corner of the room or against a wall. The training was effective in teaching the skills, and only one caregiver required booster trainings for the target skills.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh