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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #40
CE Offered: BACB
The Road Less Traveled: Case Histories in the Extension of Behavioral Interventions to New Domains
Saturday, May 26, 2012
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
4C-3 (Convention Center)
Area: CBM/PRA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Anthony DeFulio (Johns Hopkins University)
Discussant: Ron Van Houten (Western Michigan University)
CE Instructor: Anthony DeFulio, Ph.D.

Behavior analysis has broad applicability, but the lions share of our collective effort targets a relatively narrow range of social problems. The purpose of this symposium is to highlight efforts to expand the scope of behavior analytic interventions by addressing social problems that are outside the mainstream of modern behavior analysis. This symposium features three areas of inquiry that behavior analysts have been quietly tackling for decades, and it has become clear that behavior analytic interventions have the potential for massive impact in each of these domains. Attendees will receive updates on drug abuse intervention, behavioral gerontology, and the treatment of sexual offending as examples of research and practice outside the mainstream of behavior analysis. Each of these domains has benefited from the solid scientific foundation provided by mainstream applied behavior analysis. Importantly, the work in each of these unique contexts may provide useful lessons of general interest to all applied researchers and practitioners in behavior analysis. In addition, the presentations will feature brief descriptions of the opportunities for future research and service delivery in the featured domains. The ensuing discussion will include additional examples of novel applications and extensions of behavior analytic interventions.

Keyword(s): Behavioral gerontology, Behavioral intervention, Drug Addiction, Sex Offenders

Building and Disseminating a Long-Term Intervention for Drug Addiction and Poverty.

ANTHONY DEFULIO (Johns Hopkins University)

Contingency management for drug abuse is an application of operant principles and procedures that has been developing in the context of medical science for over30 years. Early work in this area proceeded much like any other area of behavior analytic inquiry. But for the last several decades, much of the work of researchers in this field has been dedicated to demonstrating the effectiveness of the behavioral approach using research strategies that are more valued and better understood in the medical community. This practice has brought worldwide attention to contingency management interventions for drug abuse, and placed behavior analysts in a position to take part in an even broader movement to produce positive behavior change by the careful deployment of money as a reinforcer. The therapeutic workplace is an employment-based contingency management intervention for drug addiction born of operant research that dovetails with the current pay-for-performance movement. Details of intervention, evidence for its effectiveness, and ongoing attempts to disseminate it will be discussed.

Using Behavior Analysis to Improve the Lives of Older Adults
LINDA A. LEBLANC (Auburn University)
Abstract: The increase in the number and proportion of adults over the age of 60 in the United States has been referred to as the “graying of America.” In particular, recent decades have seen a substantial increase in the number of individuals who live into their 80s and 90s. With increased age comes increased risk of health and cognitive concerns that can result in decreases in quality of life and functional independence. Behavior analysts are in a position to improve the lives of older adults by using our principles and procedures to create environments that foster independence and active engagement, prevent unnecessary disability, and minimize problem behaviors that impact social relationships. In addition, behavior analysts who understand the functional determinants of important health behaviors can individualize supports for older adults to maintain health and wellness. Recent research will be presented to illustrate contributions of behavior analysis in designing aspects of nursing home care, using functional assessment to understand factors that contribute to dehydration, and management of problem behaviors that arise during the progression of dementia. Potential future research ideas will be discussed as well as strategies for entering into the field of aging from other areas of applied behavior analysis.
A Behavior Analytic Approach to the Assessment and Treatment of Sexual Offending
JORGE RAFAEL REYES (Westfield State University), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: The problem of sexual offending has obvious social importance and carries traumatic consequences for children and their families. Behavioral assessment and treatment techniques were once at the forefront of approaches for sexual offending. However, early behavioral research in the field of sex offender assessment and treatment was narrowly focused. This led to the rise of the view within and outside the field that behavior analytic principles and procedures are incapable of adequately addressing the problem. In addition, many features of sexual offending present a substantial challenge to traditional behavioral methodology. Recent research (e.g., Reyes et al., 2006; Reyes, et al., 2011) designed to address these challenges has demonstrated that a behavior analytic approach to sexual offending is not only feasible, it may offer new assessment and treatment directions not previously possible. The purpose of the current presentation will be to discuss how traditional behavioral methodology has been adapted to address the problem of sexual offending, and to highlight some ways in which the field of behavior analysis benefits when its constituents address problems not typically considered to be amenable to a behavioral approach.



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