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.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #416
CE Offered: BACB
Clinical Applications of Functional Analysis Methodology
Monday, May 28, 2018
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Seaport Ballroom A
Area: PRA/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University)
Discussant: Sarah E. Bloom (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Sarah E. Bloom, Ph.D.

For decades, researchers and practitioners have both isolated challenging behavior's controlling variables by observing the effects of systematic manipulations of antecedent and consequent events. These functional analyses (FA) have served as the basis for countless effective interventions and represent the most empirically validated approach to functional assessment currently available. In this symposium, speakers will highlight two applications of this methodology directly relevant to clinical practice. In the first talk, the presenter will explore the collateral effects of stimulant medication on child behavior by tracking rates of targeted and non-targeted responding during FAs conducted across stimulant and placebo conditions. In the second talk, the presenter will highlight some limitations of standard FA methodology and will describe how latency-based FAs might be employed to identify the function(s) of low-frequency high-intensity challenging behavior. The symposium will culminate with a discussion of each study's strengths and weaknesses and will highlight areas for future research and practical application.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): functional analysis, latency, side effects, stimulant medication
Target Audience:

Masters- and doctoral-level practitioners and scientists

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe how stimulant medication can alter outcomes of functional analyses of targeted behavior 2. Describe how stimulant medication can influence response patterns of non-targeted behavior 3. Describe practical benefits of latency-based FAs in the assessment of low-frequency challenging behavior

Collateral Effects of Dexmethylphenidate on Non-Targeted Behavior During Functional Analyses of Disruptive Behavior

JESSICA TORELLI ROANE (Vanderbilt University), Joseph Michael Lambert (Vanderbilt University), Rachel Francis (Vanderbilt University), Catherine Picou (Vanderbilt University), Marissa Mastel (Vanderbilt University), Cecelia O'Flaherty (Vanderbilt University), Ellen Vandelaar (Vanderbilt University), Nealetta Houchins-Juarez (Vanderbilt University)

Previous research has examined the influence of stimulant medication on disruptive behavior's maintaining variables in individuals diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by conducting functional analyses across drug conditions (stimulant vs. placebo or no medication; e.g., Dicesare, McAdam, Tonner, & Varrel, 2005; Northup et al., 1997). While functional analyses conducted during no-medication conditions resulted in differential responding across conditions, functional analyses conducted during stimulant conditions resulted in low rates of disruptive behavior across conditions. We conducted functional analyses across dexmethylphenidate (DMPH) and placebo conditions in a withdrawal design for an 8-year old boy with ADHD. Results suggest disruptive behavior was maintained by attention when DMPH was present, but not when it was absent. Results also suggest DMPH may have collateral effects on the probability of non-targeted behavior (crying) as crying was present during DMPH conditions and absent during placebo conditions. Implications for future research and practice will be discussed.


When You Need More Time: Modified Functional Analysis of Low-Rate Challenging Behavior


Standard functional analysis arrangement work for a multitude of challenging behaviors. However, they often fall short when trying to assess low-rate, high-intensity behavior. Various manipulations have been offered as potential solutions when initial functional analyses prove inconclusive. Most often offered is for extended session length (O'Reilly 1996, Kahng et al 2001, Davis et al 2012). While this alteration can be a great assistance in ascertaining a clear function, assessments can take days, if not weeks, to complete. In order to be more efficient with time, the modified functional analysis was altered to be latency based. This assessment followed past research that the use of latency as a measure did allow for more differentiated functional analysis outcomes (Call 2009). Additionally, in moving to a latency based functional analysis, there would be the potential to complete the assessment at a faster pace allowing for less chance of injury to the individual and for appropriate treatment to be introduced sooner.




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