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 #383
CE Offered: BACB
Get Moving: Behavior Analysis of Physical Activity for Health and Fitness
Monday, May 25, 2015
2:00 PM–3:50 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Matthew P. Normand (University of the Pacific)
Discussant: Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Matthew P. Normand, Ph.D.
Abstract: The widespread prevalence of physical inactivity in both adults and children presents a problem of great social significance in this country and around the world. The behavioral assessment and promotion of physical activity is an emerging area of research in which behavior analysis is well suited to undertake. Continued research in the assessment and promotion of physical activity is necessary for developing useful strategies to combat an increasingly sedentary population. The four papers in this symposium address the problem of physical activity in the following ways: 1) using contingency management to increase physical activity with adults, 2) comparing function-based interventions for children to interventions based on CDC and WHO recommendations, 3) assessing the effect of activity context on physical activity and activity preference with children with developmental disabilities, and 4) evaluating the ways that physical activity data are best analyzed and depicted.
Keyword(s): data analysis, fitness, health, physical activity

Increasing Physical Activity Deficiencies with Deposit Contracts in Healthy Adults

WENDY DONLIN WASHINGTON (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Derek McMullen (University of Central Florida), Amanda Devoto (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Lilian Hatcher (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Bryan Acton (Virginia Tech)

Monetary reinforcers, or financial incentives, are often effective at increasing physical activity, but are expensive. To facilitate dissemination, costs must be reduced. Deposit Contracts require participants to invest money in a treatment, which can be earned back by meeting goals. We compared the efficacy of a $50 program on walking when either $0 (N=9) or $25 (N=10) had been deposited by the participant. Nineteen healthy adults who were deficient walkers (<10,000 steps/day on average), wore a Fitbit accelerometer during all waking hours for 5-6 weeks. For a 1-2 week baseline, participants reported stepcounts but received no programmed reinforcers. During a 3-week intervention, $1.50 per day could be earned for meeting individualized stepcount criteria, with bonuses ($2.65) awarded for meeting criteria on three consecutive days. In the final week, a return to baseline condition included no reinforcers or goals. Sixteen participants (84%) increased average daily stepcounts by at least 1600 steps/day (> 1mile). Of those with a treatment effect, nine (56%) relapsed to baseline levels of walking when the reinforcer contingency was removed. A RMANOVA revealed significantly higher stepcounts during the reinforcer condition. Monetary deposit amount did not affect stepcounts or sensitivity to the reinforcers.

A Comparative Analysis of Physical Activity Interventions for Young Children
HEATHER ZERGER (University of South Florida), Matthew P. Normand (University of the Pacific)
Abstract: Evidence suggests that physical inactivity is increasingly prevalent among young children. A common recommendation provided to parents suggests that they become actively involved in increasing their child’s physical activity. However, this recommendation does not specify how a parent should become involved. Further, the evaluation of parental involvement in children’s physical activity has yet to be conducted. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a functional analysis to identify a social, environmental variable that would engender a higher level of physical activity in young children. Once a social consequence was identified, reinforcement provided contingently on higher levels of physical activity and according to a fixed-time schedule was compared in an intervention analysis. The overall results of the study indicated that children were most active when receiving a form of social reinforcement contingent on higher levels of physical activity. These results suggest that parents of young children should become involved in increasing their child’s physical activity by providing attention or physical engagement contingent on higher levels of physical activity.
The Effect of Activity Context on Physical Activity and Activity Preference Displayed by Children with Developmental Disabilities
SHARI M. PINCUS (University of Maryland Baltimore County), Nicole Lynn Hausman (Kennedy Krieger Institute), John C. Borrero (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), SungWoo Kahng (University of Missouri)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to determine the effects of different environmental contexts on the level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity displayed by children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and to subsequently determine individual preference for sedentary activities versus more physically active alternatives. An adapted version of The Observational System for Recording Physical Activity in Children (OSRAC) was used to define the test conditions and various levels of physical activity. Individual preference for sedentary and activity contexts was then assessed. If necessary, a differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) intervention was implemented to increase engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Results indicated that the fixed-activity condition produced the highest levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Only one participant required the addition of the DRA component, as the other participants demonstrated a clear preference for the physical activity context. Although the intervention phase was successful in increasing moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for this participant, results of the final preference assessment indicated that participant preference for the sedentary activity context remained unchanged.
Evaluating Methods for Enhancing Data Display and Analysis in Physical Activity Research
DIEGO VALBUENA (University of South Florida), Bryon Miller (University of South Florida), Andrew L. Samaha (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Recent research has focused on increasing physical activity levels in sedentary individuals. Physical activity is measured through mechanical devices (pedometers and accelerometers) that record activity while they are worn by individuals throughout the entire day. Because of the daily differences in participants’ routines, daily step or activity data varies substantially from day to day. Consequently, traditional visual analysis of these data is difficult given their lack of stability and high variability. The purpose of this study is to evaluate different methods (Phase mean lines, daily average step total per week, weekly cumulative step totals, moving average, proportion of baseline, change-point detection, and confidence intervals) for analyzing and depicting daily activity data in ways that facilitates visual analysis without altering results. This was achieved by performing the analysis and displays on a representative data set of daily step counts. The different methods are compared to the raw data time series, and advantages and limitations of each method are discussed.



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