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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #173
CE Offered: BACB
Extending the Clinical Utility of Functional Analyses
Sunday, May 24, 2015
11:00 AM–11:50 AM
214B (CC)
Area: DDA/BPH; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Melissa MacDonald (Child & Community Resources)
Discussant: Maria G. Valdovinos (Drake University)
CE Instructor: Alison Cox, M.A.
Abstract: Functional analyses have become prominent in contemporary approaches to behavior analysis since comprehensive models were first developed in 1982. Since this time researchers have manipulated many features of this assessment strategy in order to establish and further develop its clinical utility across a variety of settings, situations, and problem behaviors (e.g., reinforcer quality; duration of functional analysis conditions). This symposium includes two studies that worked towards further expanding the clinical utility of functional analyses. Specifically, the first study compared the behavior dimension response rate to latency as the measure of target behavior during functional analysis. Latency data was established by obtaining the first instance of target behavior across the first functional analysis session. By contrast, response rates were obtained by conducting at least five functional analyses sessions. The incidence of function agreement across these two behavioral dimensions is presented. The second study examined whether psychotropic medications alter behavior function and response rate, measured by repeated functional analyses across naturally varying drug doses. In addition to indirect measures commonly used in psychotropic drug outcome research, functional analyses presented as a viable supplementary method to determine drug impact on behavior. Clinical implications and recommendations for further research are discussed for both studies.
Keyword(s): Functional Analyses, Latency Response, Psychotropic Medications
Validity of Latency-Based Functional Analysis on the Motivation of Problem Behavior in Individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities: A Retrospective Analysis
AMY BROWN (Student), Alison Cox (University of Manitoba), CT Yu (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: Although experimental functional analyses are considered best practice, there are some feasibility concerns. For example, some target behaviors (i.e., elopement) may not be conducive to the commonly used dimension of measurement (i.e., rate per minute). Therefore, investigating the accuracy of outcomes produced by functional analyses variations may provide more options for clinicians when faced with behaviors or situations that are not conducive to standard functional analysis. One alternative method to using rate as the dimension to measure behavior in a standard functional analysis is latency. The purpose of this study was to assess the convergent validity between the latency responses during a functional analysis and the experimental functional analysis. We looked at the first instance of problem behavior across the first session of all four conditions, and entered the exact time that the behavior was recorded. After extracting all of the data, we compared the behavior function indicated by the latency data with the behavior function indicated by the full experimental functional analysis. High rates of agreement between latency response and the outcomes of the full functional analysis suggest that latency may be a viable alternative to using rate as the measurement for standard functional analyses. Other clinical implications and future research recommendations will be discussed.
Variations in Behavior Function in Individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Exposed to Psychotropic Drugs
ALISON COX (University of Manitoba), Javier Virues Ortega (University of Manitoba, St. Amant Research Centre, University of Auckland)
Abstract: Psychopharmacological and behavioral interventions are used to treat challenging behaviors (e.g., self-injury, aggression, stereotypy, bizarre vocalizations) in individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD), often in combination. However, little is known about the behavioral mechanisms underlying psychopharmacological treatment. The purpose of this study was to extend and add to existing research examining whether a relation is established between psychotropic medications and behavior function. We conducted repeated functional analyses using multi-element single-subject experimental designs to assess the impact of naturally varying dosages of psychotropic drugs on behavior function. Four individuals with IDD who engaged in challenging behavior and were undergoing psychotropic medication changes participated. Drug impact across two topographies for one participant was assessed, including grabbing and table swiping. Three topographies including hand biting, skin picking, and hair pulling were assessed for another participant. Thus, a total of seven cases were evaluated. Challenging behavior was the dependent variable. Functional analysis conditions and psychotropic drug level served as independent variables. The latter was a quasi-experimental variables given that medication changes were prescribed independent of the researchers. Preliminary findings reveal two function subtractions, and three function additions; while all other medications changes produced function correspondence.



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