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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #124
CE Offered: BACB
Basic and Translational Investigations of Resurgence and Renewal
Saturday, May 28, 2022
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Meeting Level 1; Room 153A
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Carla N Martinez-Perez (Auburn University)
Discussant: Brian D. Greer (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School)
CE Instructor: Brian D. Greer, Ph.D.

Laboratory models of resurgence and renewal effects examine factors contributing to treatment relapse, which is a return of problem behavior that had been previously extinguished. Resurgence is a relapse phenomenon that occurs when a previously extinguished target response increases following a worsening of conditions for an alternative response (e.g., schedule thinning). Contrastingly, renewal occurs when a previously extinguished behavior increases following a contextual change (e.g., setting change). This symposium encompasses recent basic and translational investigations of resurgence and renewal from rodent research to humans in clinical settings and Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk). To start, Carla Martinez-Perez will present data collected from MTurk on increased resurgence effects with between-phases blackouts. Next, Dr. Charlene Agnew will present data from a study with rats evaluating relapse and voluntary abstinence following alcohol self-administration. After, Dr. Sarah Haney will present on the prevalence of resurgence and renewal of inappropriate mealtime behavior in a pediatric sample. Lastly, Dr. Colin Muething will present a study focusing on the retrospective analysis of within-participant relation between renewal and resurgence in a clinical sample. Dr. Brian Greer will serve as discussant.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): relapse, renewal, resurgence
Target Audience:

The audience should have some knowledge on treatment relapse and its clinical implications. Additionally, the audience should have a basic understanding of resurgence and renewal procedures.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe recent research on laboratory models of treatment relapse (i.e., resurgence and renewal); (2) compare the different studies and their methods; (3) identify and define the differences between the resurgence and renewal procedures used across each study.
Blackouts Can Serve as a Contextual Feature and Enhance Resurgence
CARLA N MARTINEZ-PEREZ (Auburn University), Carolyn Ritchey (Auburn University), Toshikazu Kuroda (Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Auburn University)
Abstract: Resurgence occurs when a worsening of conditions for an alternative response (e.g., extinction) increases a previously reinforced and subsequently extinguished target response. In contrast, renewal is an increase in a response previously eliminated by extinction following a contextual change. Moreover, arranging contextual changes during resurgence tests has enhanced relapse compared with the absence of contextual changes. Several laboratory studies evaluating resurgence in humans have included interruptions of operant tasks by presenting instructions or “blackouts” immediately prior to phase changes in which reinforcement contingencies change. Such interruptions could enhance relapse during testing similarly to changes in contextual stimuli. We tested this possibility in the present study with human participants recruited via Amazon Mechanical Turk by interrupting the task across groups with 1-s blackouts every 12 s, 60 s, between phases, or by arranging no blackouts in a control group. We found that blackouts prior to phase changes increased resurgence effects relative to no blackouts, suggesting that blackouts between phases are a type of contextual manipulation serving to increase the salience of contingency changes.

A Model of Relapse and Voluntary Abstinence With Alcohol Self-Administration

CHARLENE NICOLE AGNEW (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Kate Elizabeth Derrenbacker (SUNY Upstate Medical University ), William Sullivan (SUNY Upstate Medical University), Emily L. Baxter (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Andrew R. Craig (SUNY Upstate Medical University)

Excessive alcohol consumption is a prevalent health crisis in the United States (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, NIAAA, 2021). Contingency management (CM) is an approach to treating alcohol and other substance use disorders in which reinforcement is provided for alternative behaviors to drug or alcohol consumption. Despite promising outcomes, after abstinence has been established, discontinuation of alternative, non-drug reinforcement may lead to resurgence of consumption. Though resurgence is widely studied in laboratory analyses, these studies lack face validity with respect to the CM treatment contingencies in place as abstinence from drug taking is voluntary within CM but involuntary in laboratory studies. The first goal of the present study was to determine experimental parameters for studying voluntary abstinence in rats by establishing an alcohol self-administration baseline, then giving rats the choice to respond for either alcohol or non-drug alternative reinforcers repeatedly within sessions. The second goal was to evaluate resurgence of alcohol seeking following voluntary abstinence by suspending alternative reinforcement while alcohol reinforcers remained available. In this way, we characterized relapse of alcohol seeking under the conditions of drug availability likely to be encountered in the real world by individuals experiencing CM treatment for excessive alcohol consumption.

Relapse During the Treatment of Pediatric Feeding Disorders
SARAH D HANEY (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Brian D. Greer (Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School), Daniel R. Mitteer (Rutgers University - Children's Specialized Hospital Center for Autism Research, Education, and Services), Kayla Randall (Georgia Southern University)
Abstract: Resurgence and renewal are treatment-relapse phenomena in which previously extinguished behavior returns after the conditions for an alternative response worsen or the context changes, respectively. Recently, researchers have evaluated the prevalence of resurgence and renewal when treating destructive behavior with functional communication training. However, resurgence of inappropriate mealtime behavior has yet to be evaluated; perhaps because treatments involve qualitatively different resurgence opportunities (e.g., increased bite presentation rate). We evaluated the prevalence of resurgence and renewal of inappropriate mealtime behavior across 25 applications of extinction-based treatments. Resurgence occurred in 41% (9/22) of applications, most often following presentation-rate increases. Renewal occurred in 52% (13/25) of applications, most often following feeder changes from therapist to caregiver. We discuss these findings in terms of their ability to inform relapse-mitigation strategies for resurgence and renewal of inappropriate mealtime behavior.

Retrospective Analysis of Within-Participant Relation Between Renewal and Resurgence in a Clinical Sample

COLIN S. MUETHING (Marcus Autism Center), Alexandra Hardee (Marcus Autism Center), Courtney Mauzy (University of Georgia), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center), Laura Suzanna Coleman (Marcus Autism Center)

Recurrence of previously extinguished problem behavior poses a threat to maintaining treatment gains both in the clinic and in generalization settings. Resurgence and renewal are both examples of recurrence phenomena that may occur independently, but little is known about their potential relationship. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 32 participants who were admitted to an intensive outpatient program to examine the relationship between the potential for resurgence when increasing the S? interval of multiple schedules of reinforcement and renewal observed during context changes. Results indicate that the likelihood of renewal was the same whether or not resurgence was observed during thinning steps of the multiple schedules. However, when resurgence was observed, the magnitude of renewal was considerably high than when resurgence was not observed (see Figure 1). These preliminary results suggest that clinicians should anticipate a considerable increase in problem behavior when there is a context change later in treatment (i.e., renewal) when resurgence is observed earlier in treatment.




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