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 #125
Recent Translational and Applied Research on Renewal and Resurgence
Saturday, May 25, 2019
4:00 PM–5:50 PM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom C
Area: DDA/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Kayla Rechelle Randall (University of Nebraska Medical Center )
Discussant: Terry S. Falcomata (The University of Texas at Austin)

Effective interventions for socially significant problems such as severe destructive behavior and pediatric feeding disorders may be susceptible to treatment relapse. Renewal is a type of treatment relapse in which previously extinguished target behavior returns as a function of a change in context. Resurgence describes a kind of treatment relapse in which previously extinguished target behavior returns because of a decrement in the rate of reinforcement for an alternative behavior. Both forms of relapse could pose a significant disruption to successful interventions. As such, research concerning renewal and resurgence may provide methods to better understand and mitigate these types of treatment relapse. This symposium offers four presentations about renewal and resurgence. Ryan Kimball will share the effects of response competition and its influence on the renewal of target responding in a translational investigation. Sarah Haney will present on a mitigation assessment for the renewal of inappropriate mealtime behavior in the treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. Carolyn Ritchey will share the effects of multiple-context training on the resurgence of target behavior in a translational study. Finally, Théo Robinson will present on using MTurk as a resource for collecting basic research data on treatment relapse.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): renewal, resurgence, translational research, treatment relapse

Investigations of Operant ABA Renewal During Alternative Reinforcement

RYAN KIMBALL (UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Kayla Rechelle Randall (University of Nebraska Medical Center ), Adam M. Briggs (Eastern Michigan University)

Renewal is problematic when treating severe behavior disorders because destructive behavior may reemerge from simply transitioning between contexts (e.g., from clinic to home). Recent research suggests that renewal may be a reliable phenomenon even when alternative reinforcement remains in place (e.g., for a communication response) during context changes such as a transition from the clinic to the home. In Experiment 1, we examined a translational model of treatment relapse using a novel ABA renewal design in which alternative responding continued to produce reinforcement during a return to a context associated with reinforcement of target responding (Context A). Participants included children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or intellectual disabilities. We measured target and alternative responding with analog tasks for destructive and communicative behavior. Overall, extinction plus differential reinforcement was more effective at disrupting target responding relative to extinction alone, and renewal occurred for only two of six participants when returning to Context A. Alternatively, we observed renewal for five of six participants when we programmed extinction alone. In Experiment 2, we sought to determine whether these findings were due to response competition. Our data suggest that response competition most likely influence renewal when more than one response is available.

An Evaluation of a Mitigation Strategy for Renewal of Inappropriate Mealtime Behavior
SARAH D HANEY (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Cathleen C. Piazza (Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kathryn M. Peterson (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Brian D. Greer (University of Nebraska Medical Center's Munroe-Meyer Institute), Jaime Crowley (University of Nebraska Medical Center)
Abstract: Renewal, the increase in problem behavior during intervention due to context changes (e.g., transfer of intervention from clinic to home), may be particularly concerning during intervention for pediatric feeding disorders because multiple context changes are often necessary for intervention generalization and maintenance (Podlesnik & Kelley, 2015). In the current study, we tested for renewal and evaluated a renewal-mitigation strategy when we transferred intervention from a therapist to a caregiver. We used an ABA arrangement for the renewal test and a multiple baseline across participants design to demonstrate the generality of the renewal effect with two children with feeding disorders. We randomly assigned either the participant’s solid or liquid intervention to the renewal or to the mitigation assessment and randomly assigned the order of the renewal and mitigation assessments. For both assessments, the A phase was caregiver-fed baseline, the B phase was therapist-fed intervention during the renewal test or therapist-fed intervention with caregiver fading for the mitigation-strategy evaluation, and the return to the A phase was caregiver-fed intervention. Renewal and the effects of the mitigation strategy were dependent on the order in which we conducted the two conditions. We discuss the clinical implications of these results and directions for future research.

Assessing Multiple-Context Training to Mitigate Resurgence in Children Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder

CAROLYN RITCHEY (Florida Institute of Technology), Stephanie Wathen (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at the Florida Institute of Technology), Ronald Joseph Clark (Florida Institute of Technology), Weizhi Wu (Florida Institute of Technology), Yaara Shaham (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, The Florida Institute of Technology ), Basak Topcuoglu (Florida Institute of Technology), Christopher A. Podlesnik (Florida Institute of Technology)

Resurgence is a form of treatment relapse observed when a previously extinguished response returns following the discontinuation or reduction in rate of reinforcement of a more recently reinforced response. This laboratory study used a touchscreen interface to examine multiple-context training as a potential method to mitigate resurgence of problem behavior in children with ASD. In Phase 1, we reinforced target responding on a variable-ratio schedule in one context (A or D). In Phase 2, we reinforced alternative responding on a continuous schedule and discontinued reinforcement for the target response in Context B only or across three different contexts (E, F and G). In Phase 3, we assessed resurgence while returning to Context A/D or presented the task in a novel context C/H while withholding reinforcement for both the alternative and target responses. Each participant experienced all of the aforementioned phases (A-H) in a counterbalanced order. Multiple-context training did not significantly mitigate resurgence of the target response observed in Phase 3. The current study and other translational examinations of treatment relapse provide a method to evaluate techniques to enhance the generality and durability of behavioral interventions.

Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to Produce Basic Research Data in the Area of Relapse
THÉO PAUL ROBINSON (Scott Center for Autism Treatment at The Florida Institute of Technology), Michael E. Kelley (The Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology)
Abstract: Treatment relapse is a serious concern for clinicians, and has attracted attention from both basic and applied researchers. Previously effective interventions sometimes fail, and knowing the conditions that produce failure or support continued treatment efficacy represent important areas of research for behavior analysts. Current research on treatment relapse is generally restricted to non-human laboratories, human-operant arrangements (such as tablet-based programs conducted with college students as subjects), and individuals with developmental disabilities who exhibit severe problem behavior. We assessed the utility of recruiting participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) in lieu of non-human animals in a basic laboratory, humans in human-operant preparations, or humans who engage in serious problem behavior. We exposed subjects to renewal, resurgence, and super-resurgence operations. Results were similar to those obtained in non-human laboratories, human-operant arrangements, and individuals with developmental disabilities, and suggest that MTurk may be a reliable resource for collecting basic research data on relapse phenomena.



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