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.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #432
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis in Military and Veteran Families: A Review of History, Current Efforts, and Suggestions for the Future
Monday, May 27, 2024
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Convention Center, 200 Level, 203 AB
Area: PCH/CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Abigail B. Calkin (Calkin Consulting Center)
CE Instructor: Abigail B. Calkin, Ph.D.
Abstract: The challenges facing Behavioral Health practitioners in providing comprehensive services to military personnel and their families are multifaceted. These challenges warrant a discussion wherein misconceptions of service-needs and the effects of stigma on military families are addressed, and efforts employing behavior analytic technologies highlighted. The behavioral health community at large can make a difference by seeking to strengthen collaborations across disciplines (e.g., psychology, medicine) and with various sectors pertaining to public health and policy (e.g., advocacy efforts with government agencies). Featuring presenters from the Behavior Analysis in Military and Veterans' Issues special interest group, this symposium will include three presentations on topics related to the needs of military families and veterans. The first presentation will present a historical perspective on the history of ABA in the military. The next presentation will focus on current projects in which behavior analysis is being applied within the Veterans Health Administration. Lastly, the presenters will examine issues related to service delivery in families utilizing Tricare.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): dissemination, mental health, military, veteran
Target Audience: Audience members should have a general understanding of issues related to service-delivery with underserved populations (e.g., veterans seeking behavioral healthcare for themselves and/or their family members). Audience members should also have foundational knowledge in the history of behavior analysis as a growing discipline.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) articulate historical applications of behavior analytic methodology with the military and veteran community; (2) identify ways in which behavior analytic skills may be applied to the veteran population; (3) formulate strategies to bridge the gap between the behavioral health discipline and currently available services to improve the availability and quality of care for military communities.
History of Behavior Analysis in Military and Veterans’ Affairs
ABIGAIL B. CALKIN (Calkin Consulting Center)
Abstract: The history of Behavior Analysis in Military and Veterans Affairs began with the work Pavlov did with the development of respondent conditioning in the early twentieth century. It has continued with military personnel and service dogs with the principles and practices that Skinner and Lindsley developed. This has come to include work with military families who have children with disabilities, and military personnel with various disabilities. Behavior analytic work continues with TriCare and Echo programs, the standard celeration chart and work with suicide, as well as the work of Xcelerate Innovations to assist the Air National Guard to reduce suicides. In addition to suicide, other work includes post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The work with the military continues because of the need for support in the above areas. The military training has depended on good discipline, and even, in retrospect with the use of vastly different terms, the roots of military training rely on Pavlovian and Skinnerian training and high-quality measurement of human behavior.
Current Applications of Behavior Analysis in Military Veteran Research
SELENA KALAPATAPU CRUZ (Dept of Veterans Affairs)
Abstract: The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) continually updates the percentage of BACB-certified individuals working across 17 primary areas of professional emphasis, including those reflected in their April 2023 Executive Summary Report of major ABA subspecialities. An accurate representation of ongoing work in subspecialties may be difficult to assess given the lack of data available regarding the prevalence of non-certified individuals with undergraduate and/or graduate-level education in behavior analysis who utilize their training in similar areas. Likewise, assessing new avenues for behavior analysts to apply their skills with regard to specific population needs may prove difficult, as is the case with the military and veteran population, who are not explicitly included in either primary emphasis areas or the 13 reported subspecialities, however share considerable overlap in health disparities with the currently reported areas. This presentation will review applications of behavior analysis in the day-to-day work of the Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), covering subspeciality areas such as Organizational Behavior Management, Clinical Behavior Analysis, and Behavior Analysis in Public Health. Components of the Together with Veterans rural veteran suicide prevention program will be highlighted, along with principles applied to a research study examining blast exposure in veterans.
Service Needs of Military Families: A Discussion of Current Problems and Positive Directions for the Future
JOSHUA L MCQUILLEN (Behavior in Action), Daniel Harris Coe (Behavior in Action)
Abstract: The military community, whether active duty, retired, veteran, or dependents, require wide-ranging behavioral health services, including for suicidal ideation, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, autism, and more. Difficulty in obtaining such services is a common occurrence with this population, whether due to an insufficient number of available providers, limitations in Tricare resulting in services being discontinued prematurely, or restrictive policies resulting in service-needs being denied altogether. There is an opportunity and an obligation for Behavioral Health practitioners to understand and negotiate (1) the adverse impact lingering stigmas and misconceptions create within the military community, (2) the aversive stimuli present that impacts care-seeking behaviors and adherence to treatment plans for military persons, and (3) the ethical obligation to ensure availability of comprehensive behavioral health care. This presentation will highlight and define a broad problem in the relationship between the behavioral health discipline and available services provided by the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs. Furthermore, presenters will examine the ramifications of that problem with a discussion of what needs to happen moving forward and how behavior analysis can help.



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