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 #236
CE Offered: BACB
Tacting Process: Ecological Momentary Assessment for Self-Observation of Interrelated Private Events
Sunday, May 24, 2015
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Texas Ballroom Salon B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Trinity Isaac (Louisiana Contextual Science Research Group)
Discussant: Scott A. Herbst (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
CE Instructor: Scott A. Herbst, Ph.D.
Abstract: In the self-assessment of behavior, researchers and clinicians typically rely on questionnaires that require reflection on past experiences. This method of surveying is associated with recall bias, decreased ecological validity, and disconnect between behaviors and their immediate contexts. Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is a research methodology that involves repeated sampling of behavior in real-time in the context of the subjects’ every-day lives and serves to address issues associated with commonly used methods. The use of EMA allows us to examine relationships between behaviors being emitted together in the moment that would not ordinarily be possible. This becomes important when trying to increase behaviors that may be more adaptive and promote the health and well-being of the individual. The first paper in this symposium uses EMA to examine the relationships among anxiety, experiential avoidance, and valuing. The second paper looks at the relationships among self-compassion, psychological flexibility, empathic concern, and altruistic behavior in subjects’ daily lives. The implications of these specific research projects and the use of EMA as a methodology will be discussed.
Keyword(s): assessment, ecologically-valid self-reports, EMA, private events
What Matters in the Moment: Relationships Among Anxiety, Experiential Avoidance and Valuing in Daily Experiences
ALYSON GIESEMANN (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Gina Quebedeaux Boullion (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Coming into contact with one’s chosen values has been associated with numerous positive outcomes, including decreased defensiveness, increased openness to and effective action in the face of perceived threat, increased quality of life, decreases in suffering, and help to establish a sense of purpose and meaning in life. One verbal contingency that causes significant problems for people in the area of valuing is the rule that negatively evaluated private events are threatening and need to be controlled, resulting in experiential avoidance which includes any attempts to escape, control, or avoid private events. This type of avoidance has been found to be particularly important in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders and anxiety-related struggles, as the most common response to intense feelings of anxiety is experiential avoidance. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships among anxiety, experiential avoidance and valuing in daily experiences using a method called ecological momentary assessment (EMA), which refers to repeated self-reports of multiple behaviors that are completed in-the-moment. Results suggest that experiential avoidance is what moderates the direction of the relationships between anxiety and valuing. Implications for these increasing valuing and the use of EMA in this area will be discussed.
(Self) Kindness is Key: Relationships among Self-Compassion, Psychological Flexibility, Empathic Concern and Altruism
JESSICA AUZENNE (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Self-compassion has been shown to consistently predict psychological health and well-being, increased social connection and kindness toward the self and others, as well as other-focused concern in some populations (Jazaieri et al., 2013; Neff & Pommier, 2013; Smeets et al., 2014). In a college sample, self-compassion was associated with other-focused concern within the domains of perspective-taking and forgiveness, but not empathy or altruism, although these were related to self-compassion within a sample of meditators and a community sample. Although this was theorized as being related to life experiences, other factors might play a role in the discrepancy between displays of altruistic behavior and empathic concern in college students and other populations. Possible factors might include psychological flexibility and valuing, as values affirmation has also been related to an increased likelihood of assisting both friends and strangers alike (Tesser, Matin, & Cornell, 1996). The purpose of this study is to further assess the relationships between self-compassion and psychological flexibility in a college sample, and to examine their relationships to empathy and altruistic behavior using ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Implications for increasing altruistic behavior and psychological and psychosocial well-being more broadly will be discussed.



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