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

Previous Page


Symposium #102
CE Offered: BACB
Recent Research in Health, Sports, and Fitness
Saturday, May 25, 2024
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Marriott Downtown, Level 4, Franklin Hall 9-10
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Emma Jean Walker (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Emma Jean Walker, M.A.
Abstract: Behavior analysis within health, sports, and fitness is a fast-growing specialty area in the field. There is a continued need to evaluate behavioral principles and interventions to help guide research and practice within this area. This symposium provides a variety of applications of behavior analysis across different participant populations, settings, and behaviors. This symposium will include three research projects covering interventions to improve physical activity, sports performance, and health outcomes. In the first presentation, Shreeya Deshmukh will present a study where token reinforcement was evaluated to increase physical activity in two young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Next, Jason Wiley will present a study evaluating behavioral skills training to improve the performance of offensive line blocking skills in high school football players. Lastly, Emma Walker will present a translational research study evaluating the effects of music on pace while using a treadmill in undergraduate students. Future directions for research and clinical implications will be discussed.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Skills training, Synchronous schedules, Token reinforcement
Target Audience: Intermediate. Audience members should have a basic understanding of behavioral principles applied to health, sports, and fitness.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to describe a token reinforcement intervention for increasing muscle strengthening physical activity in individuals with ASD. At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to describe behavioral skills training for promoting an important skill for offensive line football players and promoting generalization to game situations. At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to describe a synchronous schedule of reinforcement applied to movement on a treadmill.

Using Goal Setting and Token Reinforcement to Increase Exercises by Two Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder

SHREEYA DESHMUKH (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida)

Engaging in regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) can result in improvements in physical health in many children and adults. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in 75-150 min of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and two days of muscle strengthening activities every week. Yet, many adults do not meet this recommendation and even fewer adults with disabilities meet this recommendation. Several behavioral interventions are effective in increasing MVPA, but few have targeted muscle-strengthening activities. The purpose of this study was to evaluate goal setting and token reinforcement to increase the frequency of exercises in adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Two adults diagnosed with ASD participated in this study at a local dance studio. Using a multiple baseline design across exercises with a changing criterion design, we used goal setting and token reinforcement to systematically increase the frequency of muscle-strengthening exercises (e.g., pushups, bicep curls, modified squats, etc.). Both participants increased the frequency of the exercises according to the criteria changes until they met the terminal criterion for each exercise. Future directions for research and implications for practitioners were discussed.

Evaluating Behavioral Skills Training for the Acquisition and Generalization of Run Blocking Skills of High School Football Players
JASON CALEB WILEY (University of South Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), Sharayah Tai (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Behavior skills training (BST) has been proven to be effective in a wide variety of settings to enhance sport performance, however, there is limited research of utilizing BST specifically with football. Behavioral skills training has been used to increase football player’s performance in one prior study, but there were limited data collected on how the skill generalized from the training environment to the natural environment. The purpose of this study was to further evaluate the effects of BST in enhancing football player’s performance while also evaluating the generalization of a skill taught in a training environment (i.e., practice) to the natural environment (i.e., game simulated scrimmage). This study included five high school offensive line football players and recorded their run blocking skills in the training context and a game context in baseline and following BST. We found that BST was effective in increasing run blocking skills in the training environment, however, the skills did not fully generalize, and additional training was needed to increase skills in the game environment.

Moving With the Music: Evaluation of Synchronous Schedules of Reinforcement on Treadmill Use

EMMA JEAN WALKER (University of South Florida), John T. Rapp (Auburn University), Jonathan W. Pinkston (University of Kansas), Jennifer L Cook (University of Manitoba), Rasha Baruni (University of Manitoba), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), Shreeya Deshmukh (University of South Florida), Sharayah Tai (University of South Florida)

The prevalence of obesity in the United States is predicted to continue rising to roughly 51% by the year 2030. Adults are recommended to engage in 75 to 150 min of vigorous-intensity physical activity or 150 to 300 min of moderate-intensity physical activity each week to sustain health benefits such as promoting a healthy cardiorespiratory system, muscle fitness, and body weight. Music may serve as a reinforcer that could increase and maintain appropriate levels of physical activity that can promote healthy living and prevent health concerns. Therefore, this study utilized a conjugate schedule of reinforcement to evaluate music preference across 50 participants. Then, participants were assigned to listen to high preferred or low preferred music while using a treadmill. Music was provided on a synchronous schedule of reinforcement where participants’ pace on the treadmill had to meet specific criteria to access the music. The results of this study found that participants assigned to high preferred music remained within the reinforcement criteria to access music more closely than the participants assigned to the low preferred music. These results preliminarily suggest an effective method at controlling pace while using a treadmill by manipulating the criteria for reinforcement when listening to preferred music.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh