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.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

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Symposium #208
CE Offered: BACB
Acceptance and Commitment Through the Lifespan: Children, College Students, and Parents
Sunday, May 30, 2021
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Ayla Schmick (Southern Illinois University)
CE Instructor: Ayla Schmick, Ph.D.

Acceptance and commitment training (ACT) represents an extension of existing behavior analytic approaches to encompass a functional analysis of private events and experiential avoidance processes. Because this intervention model emphasizes function over form, applications of ACT may exist across multiple populations, extending the scope and depth of behavior analytic work. The first presenter will explore the relationship between existing language and cognitive training and the application of ACT-based programming through the "accept. identify. move" curriculum. The second presenter will then explore an ACT-consistent approach called values-based self-management applied with college students to improve psychological flexibility as well as academic engagement and performance. The final presenter will explore the ACT model with parents of children with disabilities to promote psychological flexibility and the pursuit of chosen values. The convergence of these three presentations show how ACT can be adapted across the lifespan to address barriers to psychological flexibility that may impact overall life quality for clients that we serve.

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


Learning Objectives: (1) Describe the relationship between derived responding and the appropriateness of ACT intervention; (2) Discuss values-based self-management with college students; (3) Describe how to adapt ACT for online delivery with parents

AIMing from the PEAK

BRIAN GRACE (Arizona State University), Adam DeLine Hahs (Arizona State University)

The use of language-based interventions such as acceptance and commitment therapy/training (ACT) to develop effective and flexible behavioral repertoires has been demonstrated across a variety of participant characteristics, topographies of behavior, and environmental contexts. Accept, identify, move (AIM) is one such intervention that uses the principals of ACT to increase psychological and behavioral flexibility in typically developing children and children with exceptionalities such as autism and/or developmental delays. Children presenting with exceptionalities have a wide range of verbal repertoires and a paucity of research exists to inform practitioners for whom the above interventions would be applicable or most effective. A mixed design, including pre-post measurements on verbal abilities and psychological flexibility and a multiple baseline across participants, was used to evaluate effectiveness of the AIM-based intervention regarding problem behavior reduction, participant defined committed action, and changes in psychological flexibility.


Values-Based Self-Management Interventions With College Students

SARA JOHNSON (Missouri State University), Chynna Brianne Frizell (Misssouri State University ), Karmen Colley (Missouri State University ), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University)

Self-management interventions, including techniques such as self-monitoring, self-recording, and environmental management, have demonstrated effectiveness with students in elementary and university settings (e.g. Dean, 1981 & Mooney et al., 2005), as well as a number of other areas such as physical activity (e.g. Saelens et al., 2000), weight management (e.g. Baker & Kirschenbaum, 1993), and substance abuse (e.g. Walters, 2000). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) techniques and values-based interventions have been utilized with university students in a number of different arrangements, demonstrating the benefit of such interventions with this population (e.g. Paliliunas, Belisle, & Dixon, 2018; Chase et al., 2013; Sandoz, Kellum, & Wilson, 2017). Investigations evaluating the effectiveness of a values-based self-management intervention approach combining acceptance and values-focused therapeutic exercises with a self-management intervention for targeted behavior change, psychological flexibility, values-behavior coherence, and emotional regulation as measured by self-monitored behavior and ecological momentary assessment will be reviewed. The results provide initial evidence regarding the utility of combining these intervention techniques for improving the well-being of college students along a number of socially important outcomes.


Remote Acceptance and Commitment Training Interventions With Parents and Children

CRYSTAL TRACY (Missouri State University), Taylor Marie Lauer (Missouri State University), Lindsey Audrey Marie Dennis (Missouri State University), Dana Paliliunas (Missouri State University), Jordan Belisle (Missouri State University)

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) results in not only a demand for effective treatment and intervention services for those diagnosed with ASD, but social, psychological, and financial stressors on the parents and caregivers of these individuals (Kogan et al., 2008). Limited investigations have evaluated interventions designed to both increase behavior management skills among parents and target their psychological well-being (Blackledge & Hayes, 2006). Two remote-implemented interventions utilizing an acceptance and commitment training (ACT) approach that target the psychological and behavioral well-being of parents and children will be reviewed. First, an evaluation of a treatment package for parents including remote ACT sessions and online behavior management training modules utilizing daily self-monitoring to measure effectiveness will be reviewed. Second, an evaluation of a remote ACT intervention for children implemented with parent involvement will be reviewed, examining the effects of the intervention on both parent and child well-being using between and within session measures. Results indicate the potential utility of remote ACT interventions to improve the behavioral and psychological well-being of both parents and children. Implications for the development and implementation of such interventions will be discussed.




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