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.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #21
CE Offered: BACB
Get Up and Move!: Fusing Behavior Analysis and Technology to Increase Physical Activity
Saturday, May 25, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Swissôtel, Event Center Second Floor, Vevey 3/4
Area: CBM/CSS; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kathryn M. Kestner (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Andrew Bulla (Georgia Southern University - Armstrong )
CE Instructor: Kathryn M. Kestner, Ph.D.

Physical activity is a key factor in numerous important health outcomes; however, research reveals a concerning worldwide trend of physical inactivity (Guthold, Stevens, Riley & Bull, 2018). The World Health Organization (WHO; 2018) estimates that physical inactivity contributes to 3.2 million deaths per year, making it the fourth leading risk factor for mortality. Despite well-publicized recommendations from health organizations (e.g., WHO, Centers for Disease Control) and an increase in access to fitness-related technology (e.g., fitness trackers), these trends of sedentary behavior have not improved since 2001, and more than one in four adults worldwide fail to meet recommended levels of activity (Guthold et al., 2018). On a positive note, advances in technology present an opportunity for behavior analysts to extend behavior-change techniques to an important health-related behavior. Presenters from three different research labs will share outcomes from behavioral interventions employing goal-setting, incentives, and technology for increasing physical activity in adults.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): goal-setting, incentives, physical activity, technology
Target Audience:

The target audience for this symposium is behavior analysts who are researchers or practitioners and are interested in using technology to facilitate interventions with health-related target behavior and/or are interested in using incentive-based interventions for increasing physical activity.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe the social significance of physical activity; (2) explain how technology can be used as an intervention component and data-collection method for interventions to increase physical activity; (3) summarize the components of at least one research-supported intervention for increasing physical activity.

Examining the Effects of a Fitbit® Treatment Package on the Physical Activity Level and Quality of Life Indices for Adults With Disabilities

KIMBERLY PECK (Western Michigan University), Jessica E. Frieder (Western Michigan University)

Globally, only 25% of adults engage in enough regular physical activity (PA) for overall wellness (World Health Organization, 2018). Despite the substantial health benefits of PA, populations with intellectual disabilities (ID) are substantially inactive, even more so than their typically-developing peers. Recent research suggests approximately 90% of adults with disabilities are not active enough (Oviedo et. al, 2017; Ptomey et al., 2017). In consideration of these findings, the goal of the current study was to use a treatment package to increase the daily PA of adults with ID living in community-based settings. The treatment package included a Fitbit® to measure and monitor overall PA, goal-setting, one-on-one “coaching” sessions, and incentives contingent on meeting a pre-established physical activity goal. Due to the extreme sedentary nature of adults with ID, physical health benefits (e.g., weight loss, decreased blood pressure, lower heart rate) from increased PA may take an extended period of time to manifest. As such, any potential increases in quality of life (e.g., affect, mood, preference) that may occur in the meantime will also be measured. Findings of this study, recommendations for ongoing interventions, applications to other settings, and limitations will be discussed.


Effectiveness of Contingency Management to Promote Physical Activity in Adults

Jennifer M Owsiany (West Virginia University), KATHRYN M. KESTNER (West Virginia University), Kacey Finch (West Virginia University)

Physically inactive adults are at a greater risk of developing noncommunicable diseases (e.g., stroke, cancer, coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes) and premature death compared to their physically active peers. Consequently, physical inactivity is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Previous research has investigated the use of contingency management interventions (e.g., contracts, lotteries) to increase physical activity in adults. In the current study, we randomly assigned participants to one of three groups (i.e., contingency management, noncontingent reinforcement, or self-monitoring). Participants wore Fitbit® Alta HR fitness trackers, which provided data on various indicators of increased physical activity, such as calorie burn, steps, and active minutes. The goal of the current study was to further investigate the use of contingency management interventions to increase physical activity in adults.




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