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.


11th International Conference; Dublin, Ireland; 2022

Event Details

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Poster Session #72
CBM Poster Session
Friday, September 2, 2022
5:45 PM–7:45 PM
Ground Level; Forum
65. Mindfulness Practice Predicts Interleukin-6 Responses to a Mindfulness-Based Alcohol Relapse Prevention Intervention.
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
ANDREW MCCLINTOCK (University of Wisconsin (UW) Health), Shannon McCarrick (Access Community Health Centers)
Abstract: Chronic alcohol misuse can result in chronically elevated interleukin (IL)-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, in the bloodstream. Given that Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) has been shown to reduce alcohol misuse, MBRP might also be effective in reducing IL-6 concentrations. Past research has found, however, that IL-6 does not respond consistently to mindfulness-based interventions. Building on prior studies, we examined whether between-person variability in engagement with mindfulness training (i.e., formal mindfulness practice time) is associated with between-person variability in changes in serum IL-6, using data from a randomized controlled trial evaluating MBRP for Alcohol Dependence (MBRP-A). Participants were 72 alcohol dependent adults (mean age = 43.4 years, 63.9% male, 93.1% White) who received a minimum dose (i.e., at least four sessions) of MBRP-A either at the start of the trial (n=46) or after a 26-week delay (n=26). IL-6 concentrations did not significantly change from pre- to post-intervention for the full sample. Nevertheless, greater mindfulness practice time was significantly associated with reduced IL-6 levels (r = -.27). The association between practice time and IL-6 changes remained significant when controlling for intervention timing (i.e., immediate or after the 26-week delay), demographic characteristics, and changes in mindful awareness, obsessive-compulsive drinking, and depressive symptoms. The association between practice time and IL-6 changes was not significant when omitting the minimum treatment dose requirement. Overall, results suggest that the level of engagement in mindfulness training may predict changes in the inflammatory pathophysiology in adults with alcohol dependence.

Measuring Bio-Behavioral Symptom Changes With Children Diagnosed With Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections

Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
ANDREW W. GARDNER (University of Arizona - College of Medicine - Department of Pediatrics ), Chelsea E. Carr (The University of Arizona - College of Medicine - Department of Pediatrics)

Biological interventions by medical professionals are often warranted for specific diagnoses, particularly when direct etiology is identified. However, with certain psychiatric disorders, etiology is not easily assessed or includes a combination of biological and behavioral variables. For example, children diagnosed with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection (PANDAS) might have underlying infectious and inflammatory processes where simultaneous treatment of biological and behavioral symptoms are recommended (Thienemann, et al., 2017). Accurate treatment data are crucial to ensure adherence to medical and behavioral interventions to improve functioning and decrease suffering. However, due to the simultaneous treatment of bio-behavioral symptoms, accurate treatment data from medical and behavioral interventions are often difficult to progress monitor. In this presentation, we demonstrate ways to track changes in symptomatology in children diagnosed with PANDAS in response to biological and behavioral treatment strategies by a multidisciplinary team of professionals (e.g., behavior analysis, psychiatry, pediatrics, immunology). ABA-based data collection methods including scatterplot, multi-element designs, and function-based narratives were used to track intervention variables as well as changes in symptoms over time for 2 children diagnosed with PANDAS.

67. A Behaviour Analytic Account of Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviour
Area: CBM; Domain: Theory
AISLING COLLINS (Ascend Learning & Behaviour Support)
Abstract: Autistic individuals are often significantly impacted by their restrictive repetitive behaviour (RRBs), with a notable subset also receiving a clinical diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Behaviour analysts have had notable success, albeit with questionable necessity, in reducing engagement in lower-order (i.e., stereotypic) RRBs but a paucity of interventions exist for the treatment of higher-order RRBs that are more akin to obsessive-compulsive behaviours (OCB). The current discussion centres specifically on OCBs that negatively impact quality of life and that have a largely automatic negative reinforcement function. There are ethical limits to the use of exposure and response prevention, while traditional cognitive behavioural therapy would be inaccessible for those with a limited verbal behaviour repertoire. It is suggested that the growing body of literature on Relational Frame Theory and in particular work on the transformation of stimulus function may continue to advance our understanding of emergent and complex behaviour. This in turn may elucidate the role of private events in overt behaviour, and by identifying the principles of behaviour controlling OCB enable more effective treatment alternatives for individuals with lower-levels of verbal behaviour.

Internet-Based Intervention for Sleep in Non-Clinical University Students

Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
RYO AIBA (University of Tsukuba), Soichiro Matsuda (University of Tsukuba)

The relationship between sleep deprivation, irregularity of bedtime and waking time, and length of sleep onset latency and health risks has been shown in several studies (e.g., Luyster et al., 2012). In addition, sleep problems are widely recognized among Japanese university students (e.g., Steptoe et al., 2006). However, there are few intervention studies on sleep in non-clinical university students and few online intervention studies. In this study, we conducted an online workshop based on CBT-I and an intervention using graphical feedback of sleep in four university students and examined the effects using sleep diaries and questionnaires. The results showed that the sleep onset latency decreased in one participant during intervention and follow-up, but there were no effects of the intervention on bedtime/wake time, sleep onset/wake time, sleep duration, mid-wake, or subjective sleep quality in all participants, and the PSQI-J scores of two participants decreased before and after the study period. These results suggest that the intervention package in this study may improve sleep onset latency and insomnia tendency. In future studies, it will be necessary to individualize the intervention procedures, provide incentives for implementing the procedures, examine the effects of each intervention technique alone, and quantitatively measure sleep.


Health Professionals’ Knowledge and Self-Efficacy in the Support of Individuals With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
MICHELLE P. KELLY (Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE)), Binu George (NMC Royal Hospital), Nipa Bhuptani (Applied & Behavioral Training Institute, UAE), Shaljan Areepattamannil (Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE)), Amina Al Jasmi (Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE))

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021) early intervention is key to improving the quality of life of young children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) by changing their developmental path to reach their full potential. Given that early diagnosis is a priority to facilitate early intervention and appropriate educational planning, early detection of developmental concerns is essential to improve positive outcomes for children with ID/DD, their families and their communities. General Practitioners (GPs) and pediatricians play an important role in the detection of early markers and diagnosis of ID/DD because they are usually the first point of contact for concerned parents. The current study employed an online survey to examine awareness about developmental delays or disability (characteristics, causes, evidence-based intervention) among GPs and pediatricians in Abu Dhabi to investigate their role and self-efficacy in scaffolding parents and children’s journey and experiences in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Results will be discussed to highlight the importance of the future role of Applied Behavior Analysis within the healthcare system in the UAE.

71. Behavioral Activation for Reanimation of the Recovering Addict
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
MATTHEW GROSS (Shippensburg University), Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Abstract: Patients undergoing recovery from addiction, especially following an acute inpatient rehabilitation experience, often experience a period of time during which they are "spared" from typical daily activities, responsibilities, and reinforcers. During this time, particularly if living "back at home," demands on them are initially reduced, or non existent, but ideally should gradually increase, commensurate with ongoing successful habit development, but too often, they don't do so. Unfortunately, for some patients, their families, their rehabilitation clinicians, their healthcare payers/insurers, the legal system, their friends, and other key stakeholders in their recovery, either in being well intentioned..or simply by not paying attention.., set up an environment sheltering them not only from responsibilities "too much for them to handle" at this time, but unfortunately also from the many natural consequences that would bring life back to them, shaping their behaviors, overt and private, to assist to return them to (ideally, improved versions of) their "normal" lives. While they might participate in some sort of outpatient "program," sadly the absence of a systematically implemented, reevaluated, revised, and increased set of responsibilities and actions expected of them within their family or other living situation, outside of their formal outpatient drug rehab program activities, can allow them, or arguably, cause them, to become "permanent teenagers," returning from their outpatient program activities to their home, where they can isolate themselves into their rooms, pajamas, snack foods, phone, computer, and up all night schedules of internet or video or game controller or tv reruns, often absent even much interaction with other family members in the house. Instead of focusing on "esteem building," behavioral activation robustly employed, with a goal of developing patterns of behavior useful to returning to a (more desirable) day to day life going forward, can get them showered dressed, out of their rooms, out of their houses, and into volunteer or part time job activities which will, if guided well, expose them to natural reinforces that will train them, rehabilitate them, reanimate them, redefine them, and reintegrate them into the (hopefully well chosen) worlds around them, and increase the likelihood they will be fortified against the stimuli, internal and external, that might lead them to emit behaviors of relapse.
72. Applied Behavior Analysis Applied to Marital Behavior Change: Behaviorally Sound Approaches to Marriage Counseling and Marital Therapy
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
RICHARD COOK (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Abstract: The habitual behaviors of spouses toward each other are arguably the most fundamental units of behavior within a marriage, and present the most readily observed and potentially most readily addressed foci for making improvements, including sometimes the so called "private behaviors" of attitudes, opinions, feelings, and the like. Most marriage counseling and therapy however currently uses a cognitive behavioral model, which is invariably far too heavily weighted on the "cognitive" often difficult to understand aspects, and far too light on specifically addressing the behaviors. Changing behavior can often be the most efficient, and effective, way to change attitudes and opinions (it is much easier to feel warmly toward a spouse who hasnt tracked mud over a freshly cleaned floor, over spent the checking account, or made lewd comments to one's boss or in-laws). This paper highlights components of a behaviorally based approach to effecting desired marital behavior change, including identification of desired behaviors, and use of behaviorally sound techniques to develop them into maintained and appropriately generalized habits. The topic and teaching can be helpful for conference attendees applying such behavior change professionally in their practices, as well as within the confines of their own marriages.
73. "Distance Caring” - Behaviors of Caring for an Older Special Someone From a Distance in the Times of the COVID Pandemic: Strategies Which Can Be Continued and Implemented Post Pandemic and Anytime
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
JOSEPH MARTIN (Shippensburg University), Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey), Matthew Gross (Shippensburg University)
Abstract: Many people have strong feelings of love, dedication, gratitude, obligation and want to help, to improve the life of an older relative or family friend, a grandparent, family, friend, neighbor, or godparent, but the responsibilities in their daily lives serve as a barrier to beginning to do so. The complexities of this situation are exacerbated by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Roles vary from significant day to day daily living assistance to a phone call or card. As one integrates with the current system of care, roles are defined, and change. We discuss support networks, relationships, and resources.The restrictions of the pandemic can be developed into ongoing patterns of more robust future habits of caring. The presentation highlights behaviors facilitate taking the warm desire to do something nice, to the stage of commitment and implementation. We detail approaches to maintaining contentedness, allowing for sense of purpose, being mindful of and respecting preferences and concerns for both care sharer and receiver, developing the system of care sharing adapted to the level of interactions and responsibilities. It can start with a commitment to call or drive once a week, and lead to greater quality of life and sense of purpose for care giver and care receiver alike.

A Behavioral Model Within a Children Psychiatry Department: Procedures and Implementation

Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
EITAN ELDAR (Psychiatry Department, Sheba Health Center, Israel), Doron Gothelf (Children Psychiatry Department, Sheba Health Center, Israel), keren englander (Children Psychiatry Department, Sheba Health Center, Israel)

The Children Psychiatry Department at the Sheba Health Center offers a pioneering model of collaboration between Psychiatry and Applied Behavior Analysis. The health center also includes an Applied Behavior Analysis certification program. Patients are six to twelve years old children experiencing complex behavioral challenges requiring intensive and professional care. Among the challenges are self-injury, social and school difficulties, psychotic and medical issues. Children reside at the department for a few weeks up to three months. Staff include Psychiatrists, Nurses, Psychologists, Social Workers, Teachers, Speech Therapists, Behavior Analysts, Dieticians. The department hosts a school supervised by the Ministry of Education. It also enables students from the certification program to experience practicum within the department, beneficiary to both. The Behavioral program includes a “growth ladder” for each patient, based on a Token Economy system supporting target behaviors defined by the Psychiatrists. It also includes individual interventions such as functional communication training, differential reinforcement, and gradual exposure to frustrating triggers. The Behavioral model will be presented followed by key challenges related to its implementation.

75. Behaviorally Based Specific Approaches to Improve Interactions and Results of Parent/Teen Homework Assistance
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
EMILY COOK (Bishop Mcdevitt High School, Harrisburg, PA), Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Abstract: The experience of a parent helping their teenager with homework can be tremendously helpful and rewarding for both, but can also be fraught. While guidance abounds, the points included in such lists are often excellent concepts, but are lacking the details required for successful implementation to achieve the desired effects. Changes in overt behaviors are often facilitated by changes in component behaviors, including “private” behaviors of attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. It is worthwhile to consider specific influences of “context” as well as those of the role of parent child homework interactions within the parent child “learning history,” as these both influence the homework help setting, and can serve as vehicles to leverage improvements in such relationships. Important behavioral concepts to be addressed will include but not be limited to escape/avoidance prevention, successive approximations and behavioral momentum, remembering to continue to reinforce, and being mindful that reinforcers must be relevant and valued to the targeted individual. This presentation outlines behaviorally sound strategies for increasing the likelihood of meaningful impact of many worthwhile but behaviorally poorly defined homework help ideas, and includes specific suggestions in antecedents, topography, and consequences for commonly encountered problems. The relevance of the behavioral suggestions to the targeted individuals offered is enhanced by the high school student and parent perspectives of the authors.
76. Managing the Key Behaviors in Training a New Dog: Most of Them are NOT the Dog's
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
MATTHEW GROSS (Shippensburg University), Richard Cook (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Abstract: Abstract:Successfully "training" a new dog is a function of mindfulness of their own behaviors by the dog's "people," and their ability to manage those behaviors in the context of the interactions with the dog, and in their interactions with other humans regarding the dog's behavior. Multiple behaviors, overt and private, must be emitted in the process of adopting a dog. Once adopted, the rituals begin of training the dog to emit or not emit targeted behaviors. Interactions with other humans can be a threat to consistency needed in the early phases of treatment Once the owner(s) has developed a position regarding a behavior in various situations, it behooves the training process consistency to have a concise and clear plan to communicate the desired behavior plan to those who might interact with the dog, and teach it to those humans. For example, if the owner prefers that the dog not be allowed to jump up onto a person when greeting, or not be given table food, those preferences should be made clear to any human interacting with the dog. Other domains of human behaviors include interactions of persons with the dog regarding tricks, treats, greeting and petting, preferences for walking or holding the dog, and the essentials of communication between humans regarding dog behaviors. Interactions with other animals, and with owners of other animals, as well as the intersection of the dog and the environment either at home or out in the world encountered when going for a walk become the real world of maintenance, generalization, and discrimination of dog behavior, such as the interaction of the new dog with other dogs, other house pets, other humans, and wild animals. It is the owner to other human behaviors that lay the foundation of the dog's behavior. If the "owner" is a couple, there is an exponential increase in behaviors human behaviors emitted, including "private" behaviors such as attitudes toward and understanding of basic behavior principles such as reinforcement and punishment, all of which which need to be defined and shaped. To the extent the owner understands principles of behavior, and can explain them to others in the context of increasing or decreasing specific dog behaviors, such as barking, chasing, marking, etc., it can help make for more consistent training for the dog, and less arguments for the people. This presentation will highlight domains of human behaviors which need to be shaped when adopting and training a new dog.
77. Applied Behavioral Medicine Approaches to Addressing Challenges and Gifts of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
RICHARD COOK (Applied Behavior Medicine Associates of Hershey)
Abstract: Applied Behavior Analysis is a discipline ideally suited for helping to change behaviors and develop habits in the child or adult diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. Methodically facilitating the performance of agreed upon behaviors in specified situations, and then engraining them as routines/habits generalized and maintained in the natural environment, is a noted strength of the discipline. Arguably better described as “Attention Regulatory Disorder” (an imbalance of lack of focus and hyperfocus), the ADD/ADHD child who is able to decrease the performance of behaviors others find annoying, and instead perform behaviors that let the “gifts of ADD shine,” will have more positive interactions, setting up a “self-perpetuating feedback loop” that helps the child flourish. True “behaviorally based” approaches, which actually spend the bulk of the time assessing and practicing the behavior (including those relevant from disciplines of public health, medicine, ABA and the other natural sciences of biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics) provide a disciplined framework for systematically identifying and manipulating relevant factors in an efficient and effective manner. This is important for both for the child, in preventing ADD’s undesired effects, and the adult whose long learning history is robust not only with “issues,” but likely also with many excellent compensatory mechanisms , baselines for shaping other behaviors to be corrected



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