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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Paper Session #329
Behavior Analysis in Mental Health
Sunday, May 24, 2020
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon B
Area: CBM
Instruction Level: Basic
Chair: Michael Jon Vriesman (Eastern Michigan University)

Behavioral interventions for Individuals With Serious Mental Illness: The Often-Forgotten History of Behavior Analysis

Domain: Theory
MICHAEL JON VRIESMAN (Eastern Michigan University), Jessica Good (Eastern Michigan University)

Individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) experience behavioral excesses and skills deficits that significantly impact their daily functioning. Individuals with SMI are in high need for receiving psychological treatment, making them frequent utilizers of healthcare. Interventions for this population are commonly being implemented within prison, emergency care, and underfunded community mental health settings. Interventions in these environments can be ineffective because providers in these locations may not have appropriate training or access to sufficient resources to provide treatment to this complex population. Due to the frequent and inappropriate utilization of these systems for psychological treatment, these settings incur a high cost for individuals for SMI and the healthcare system. To address this issue, we will discuss underutilized and often forgotten behavior analytic interventions that have a history of effectively reducing behavioral excesses and providing skills training for individuals with SMI. We suggest that by revisiting these interventions and considering newly developed behavioral treatments, behavior analysis may be the solution to effectively treating this population.


Implementing Behavior Skills Training With Pediatricians: Managing Adolescent Depression in Primary Care Settings

Domain: Service Delivery
TERYN BRUNI (University of Michigan Medical Center), Leah Rose LaLonde (Eastern Michigan University), Alexandros Maragakis (Eastern Michigan University), Blake M. Lancaster (University of Michigan), Luke Turnier (University of Michigan)

In response to the increasing demand on pediatricians to screen and treat depression in primary care, a 90-minute curriculum was developed to train pediatricians to conduct a suicide risk assessment and deliver a brief behavior activation (BA) protocol to adolescents who screen positive for depression in primary care. Prior research demonstrates increased confidence among professionals who receive active, hands-on training (Fallucco, Conlon, Gale, Constantino, & Glowinski, 2012). Thus, the curriculum was developed using Behavioral Skills Training (BST), involving instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback to promote mastery (Ward-Horner & Sturmey, 2012). A total of 54 providers participated in the training and completed pre-training and post-training surveys. Results from paired sample t-tests indicated significant increases in provider-reported comfort managing depression (t (53) = -5.40, p<.001), perceptions of feasibility in managing depression during medical visits (t (53) = -4.50, p<.001), and knowledge about depression management (t (53) = -6.31, p<.001). Providers strongly agreed the training provided information they will apply to patient care (M = 5.52, SD = .64) and that feedback during roleplays was helpful (M = 5.48, SD = .75). BST was found to be an effective and acceptable strategy for training medical professionals in primary care.


The Effects of a Self-Management Treatment Package on Physical Activity in?University Students With?Depressive?Symptoms?

Domain: Applied Research
REGHANN MUNNO (Brock University), Kendra Thomson (Brock University ), Kimberley L. M. Zonneveld (Brock University)

Depression is a highly prevalent condition with proportionally higher rates shown among university students than the general population. Research supports that engaging in physical activity improves symptoms associated with depression. Self-management techniques offer an effective, economical approach to teaching individuals to engage in increased physical activity. This study evaluated the effects of a self-management treatment package (i.e., goal setting, self-monitoring, feedback) on walking behaviour for four adults with chronic depressive symptoms. The extent to which increased physical activity affects self-reported depressive symptoms and sleep duration and quality were examined. All data were collected using the Fitbit FlexTM. A changing-criterion design embedded within a concurrent multiple baseline across four participants design was used in which each successive criterion was increased above the mean performance frequency in the previous phase by a value between 5-15%. After a stable decrease in walking was observed during follow-up for one participant, the treatment package was re-implemented. Overall, the results demonstrate that the treatment package was efficacious at increasing walking across participants (i.e., 31% increase in average mean shift from baseline to treatment). Findings also suggest that increased walking may be associated with increased sleep duration. A blind clinician is analyzing collateral effects on depressive symptoms.

Toward a Behavioral Account of Grief and Identity
Domain: Theory
TOM BUQO (Hofstra University; Bx+), Erin Ward-Ciesielski (Hofstra University)
Abstract: The experience of loss is a human universal, but behavioral science has made limited inroads into the study of this aspect of human behavior. This presentation will demonstrate a program of research applying the reticulated model of research and treatment development (Hayes et al., 2012) to an understanding of the experiences of loss and grief. Consistent with such a model, information from the basic science will be addressed in tandem with theoretical issues, applied research, and the interrelation between all of these levels of research. A contextual behavior science examination of identity continuity theory of grief (Bonanno, Papa, & O’Neill, 2001) will provide a framework for the application of relational frame theory (RFT; Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, & Roche, 2001) to an understanding of complex human behavior such as identity construction, identity disruption, and the experience of grief and loss. Initial studies in this program will be summarized, with an emphasis on implications of this program of research and future directions for an understanding of basic and applied principles in this domain of experience.



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