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 #65
CE Offered: BACB
ABA Adds Unique Value to Suicidology and Law Enforcement
Saturday, May 26, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Marriott Marquis, Marina Ballroom F
Area: OBM/CSS; Domain: Translational
Chair: Kent A. Corso (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC)
Discussant: Mark P. Groskreutz (Southern Connecticut State University)
CE Instructor: Kent A. Corso, Psy.D.

Over the last several years, the public has increasingly paid attention to problems associated with suicide and law enforcement. Each presents its own set of controversy, challenges and barriers to progress. This symposium focuses on real world sets of data, using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to reveal new insights and patterns within the fields of contemporary suicidology and law enforcement. The presentations offer solutions and recommendations using ABA principles while also leveraging ABA to teach the audience about these respective subject areas. One talk elucidates a novel analysis of the Air National Guard's Suicide Prevention Program. It uses recently obtained data and analyses to highlight predictive variables, risk factors and protective factors which have previously been unknown to the military community. It concludes with recommendations for more effective suicide prevention. The second presentation addresses a common source of concern among U.S. citizens pertaining to the use of force by police and the coverage of this issue in the media. This discussion centers around the ways in which ABA can offer solutions for the analysis of these data and the training of law enforcement officers in the future, as that community aspires to prevent the inappropriate use of force.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): law enforcement, media, military, suicide
Target Audience:

This is appropriate for psychologists and those in the behavior analysis community interested in continuing education.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: 1) Analyze the discrepancies between media reports of police use of force and actual data about police use of force. 2) Analyze the relationships between suicide and system-level variables. 3) Discuss the various applications of ABA to improving law enforcement and suicide prevention.
Why Law Enforcement Needs Applied Behavior Analysis
AMY D. WIECH (ABC Group, Inc. Hawaii)
Abstract: Police use of force occurs in less than 1.5% of police-citizen contacts (Miller, 2015). However, recent high profile use of deadly force incidents such as the Michael Brown and Freddie Gray shootings have sparked national debates and public outcry on this topic. The national climate of police trust has been compromised. Former FBI Director, James Comey, has recently suggested that the increased frequency of use of force related media coverage has had a maladaptive impact on police behavior (Lowery, 2015). The purpose of this talk is to examine the recent trends in of use of force and associated variables with recent, publicly available data. The authors contend that discrepancies exist between media reports and raw data of lethal conflict between law enforcement and suspects. The authors discuss the shortcomings of the data in this area of the field and the negative impact that media reports bear on the social exchanges between the police and the public (Bolgiano, Banks, and Patterson, 2016). They cite how current police agencies adopt practices, tactics and programs despite the gap in evidence about the effectiveness of these strategies. The authors suggest several behavior analytic solutions to improving law enforcement training with evidence-based practices.

Suicides in the Air National Guard: Predictive Models and a Reduction Recipe

(Applied Research)
KENT A. CORSO (NCR Behavioral Health, LLC), James Meador (Grand Canyon University), Abigail B. Calkin (Calkin Consulting Center), Michael Kondis (Xcelerate Innovations LLC)

Suicides continue to be one of the top ten causes of death in the United States. Among adolescents it is within the top three. Within the military, suicide continues to plague service members, leaving military families torn and leaders baffled and frustrated. Since 2008, military suicide exceeded civilian ones (Army Institute of Public Health, 2011) and have not yet returned below the civilian rates. Shockingly, no civilian or military organization, state or locality has successfully maintained a reduced suicide rate despite a variety of suicide prevention programs (Corso et al., 2017). A recent meta-analysis of risk factors for suicide reveals that the field’s predictive capabilities are poor (Franklin et al., 2017). The authors discuss the results of a program evaluation pilot of Airmen in the Air National Guard (ANG). Unlike the variables the field has historically examined, the authors evaluated system-level factors (i.e., those to which the entire ANG population are exposed) which may be mitigated by military leaders at the population level. System-level risk and protective factors are discussed, as well as an empirical model for predicting suicide in the ANG and suggested solutions for reducing suicide among Airmen.




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