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 #204
CE Offered: BACB
ACTing the Part: Expanding the Reach of ACT-Based Efforts Within Behavior Analysis
Sunday, May 24, 2020
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon I
Area: AUT/EDC; Domain: Translational
Chair: Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University)
CE Instructor: Thomas G. Szabo, Ph.D.

In the last decade, the applications of acceptance and commitment training (ACT) has exploded within behavior analysis practice. The scope of ACT investigations, however, has been somewhat limited to efforts within the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) population. To that end, the present symposium seeks to expand the empirical reach of ACT to populations outside that of ASD, and discuss the overarching implications of using ACT as a viable, behavior-analytically-rooted approach in a thoroughgoing fashion.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ACT, AIM, Psychological Flexibility
Target Audience:


Learning Objectives: Attendees will be able to describe how to measure the effects of values procedures on behavioral persistence in the lab Attendees will learn how to best support staff in the implementation of behavior analytic implementation Attendees will be able to describe stimulus equivalence procedures as they relate to staff training efforts
Values and Persistence: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Brief Values Exercises on a Persistence Task in the Laboratory
(Applied Research)
JAY LEUNG (University of Southern California), Jonathan J. Tarbox (University of Southern California; FirstSteps for Kids)
Abstract: Persisting with an aversive task is needed in virtually all important areas of human functioning, including academic, vocational, social, fitness, and even familial functioning. Values-based interventions have been shown to be effective in a variety of psychology studies, but little research has evaluated the effects of values-based interventions on task persistence. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of values-based interventions on measures of persistence in the laboratory setting, and to identify interventions that are likely to be effective and potential good candidates outside of the lab. The intervention consists of brief ACT values exercises in the lab setting. The study includes typically developing adult participants that are university students and employees. The study uses single case experimental designs to evaluate the effects of the interventions at the level of the individual participant, wheras the majority of previous research on values-based interventions has used group designs and/or indirect measures of behavior. Data collection on this study is ongoing with six participants.

Watch Me Try: Acceptance and Commitment Training for Improving Athletic Performance of Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder

(Applied Research)
THOMAS G. SZABO (Florida Institute of Technology), Chris Palinski (Las Vegas, NV), Paula Willis (Las Vegas, NV)

Few studies have examined the effects of contextual behavior science interventions for adult athletes with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Those few, reviewed herein, show preliminary empirical support for treating behavioral deficits exhibited by young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder engaged in competitive sports. In the current study, we evaluated a novel iteration of Acceptance and Commitment Training called Watch Me Try and compared it to direct contingency management to facilitate athletic performance of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder using a concurrent multiple baseline across participants design. The title and language used in establishing the intervention were geared specifically to the social development of the participants. All three athletes increased their attendance, heart rate, and length of falls during training to simulate desired performance during competitions and subsequently, their competition performances improved. One improved with direct contingency management alone; the other two required the Watch Me Try approach to bolster their performance.

Investigations of Psychological Flexibility as a Mediator for Academic, Prosocial, and Maladaptive Behavior Change in a Twice Exceptional Student Sample
(Applied Research)
DANIEL HOWELL (Arizona State University Department of Psychology), Adam DeLine Hahs (Arizona State University), Michael DeLaet (Arizona State University)
Abstract: Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an empirically-based intervention that has been effectively used in clinical settings to increase clients’ psychological flexibility. To date, however, there is limited evidence within school settings. The Accept, Identify, Move (AIM), was used during the current study. A multiple baseline across subjects design was used to evaluate the effects of the AIM curriculum on participants’ psychological flexibility using the Children’s Psychological Flexibility Questionnaire (CPFQ). Participants in this study all attended the same school and ranged in age from 7 years of age to 18 years of age. The CPFQ was administered during each phase of the study, and teachers completed the caregiver version of the questionnaire based on what they believe their student’s score were. Differences between groups were measured, and students will be directly observed to see if AIM effects on-task behavior. The extend to which psychological flexibility serves as a mediating variable to improvements in academic, prosocial, and maladaptive behavior will be discussed both specifically and broadly.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh