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 #371
Contact With Values: Research and Applications of Constructing Valued Patterns of Living
Monday, May 28, 2012
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
401 (Convention Center)
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Lindsey Clark (University of Mississippi)
Discussant: Amy Murrell (University of North Texas)

Values are defined as freely chosen, verbally constructed consequences of ongoing, dynamic, evolving patterns of activity, which establish predominant reinforcers for that activity that are intrinsic in engagement in the valued behavioral pattern itself (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011; Wilson & DuFrene, 2009). Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT; Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 1999; 2011) is a third wave behavioral analytic model of psychotherapy focusing on mindfulness and values processes. ACT and its component processes have demonstrated efficacy in clinical and non-clinical populations. This symposium presents research findings exploring the utility of values and goals in the classroom; exploring means of constructing individualized valued patterns of living; as well as examining the role of values and mindfulness processes in the therapeutic relationship.

The Relative Effects of Mindfulness and Values on Therapeutic Relationship: Developing Methods of Manipulating Alliance
REGAN M. SLATER (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Clinicians have long been interested in the components that strengthen the therapeutic relationship. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT; Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011) is a behavior analytic third wave therapy that emphasizes psychological flexibility utilizing mindfulness and values processes. To date, research has indicated that the therapeutic relationship is related to client outcome. However, the nature of this relationship is not clear, and to date, studies have not experimentally manipulated the therapeutic relationship. Research has been done to investigate the effects of the core psychological flexibility processes within ACT. The purpose of the current studies is to evaluate the effects of specific, teachable techniques on therapeutic relationship and to explore psychological flexibility processes as they relate to the relationship between therapist and client. Participants were undergraduate students. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: a values and mindfulness condition, a mindfulness condition, or a control condition. Participants then engaged in a conversation representing an analog of a therapy session. Data were collected at three time points during the study. The measures assessed values and mindfulness processes, as well as therapeutic relationship, connectedness, compassion and positive and negative mood. Implications for future research will be discussed.

Asking About What Really Matters: A Comparison of Different Methods of Generating Values-Related Stimuli

VICTORIA BOUDOIN (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Samantha K. Marks (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emmie Hebert (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Shelley Greene (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)

Values have been described, from a behavioral perspective, as freely chosen, verbally constructed consequences of ongoing, dynamic, evolving patterns of activity, which establish predominant reinforcers for that activity that are intrinsic in engagement in the valued behavioral pattern itself (Wilson & DuFrene, 2006). Emerging research from a variety of disciplines supports the psychological benefits of being in contact with ones values. There is, thus, a growing interest in experimentally manipulating contact with values to examine the impact of values on behavior. None of the existing paradigms (i.e., asking for thoughts and feelings about values) allow the investigator to quickly and easily make values present (or not present) for the participant, such as in a computer learning paradigm. This might be accomplished by having participants generate individualized values-related stimuli that could be presented at different points throughout the experiment. This study evaluated methods of generating values-related stimuli by comparing within-subject ratings of the stimuli they generated. Participants were university students. Preliminary data suggest that having subjects write about their deeply held values for a set amount of time may provide the conditions for subjects to generate stimuli that facilitate contact with values. In addition, these methods may be most effective for assessing how meaningful a certain value is to subjects. Implications for future research will be discussed.

The Effects of a Values and Goal Setting Intervention on Academic-Related Outcomes in College Students
SOLOMON KURZ (University of Mississippi), Maureen Kathleen Flynn (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: According to proponents of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), values and committed action are directly linked in that goals are set in the service of working towards one’s values (Hayes, Strosahl, & Wilson, 2011). Acting on goals to move towards one’s values is a piece of committed action in the ACT model. The purpose of this study was to compare a goal setting only invervention with a goal setting plus values intervention on a variety of outcomes, such as overall semester GPA, school engagement, connectedness to values, and psychological distress. We were also interested in examing whether psychological flexibility and values mediated outcomes. College students enrolled in two sections of a psychology class taught by a single instructor were selected to participate in this quasi experimental design. Both interventions consisted of a 40-minute in-classroom intervention and weekly emails. For the in-classroom interventions, participants in both conditions were taught how to set goals and practiced making goals. Participants in the goal setting plus values condition also completed a values writing exercise that consisted of writing about dedicating their semester to someone they care about. The weekly emails for both conditions consisted of asking them to set 3 small goals for the upcoming week and about levels of academic engagement from the previous week. The goal setting emails reminds participants how to set goals and the values plus goal setting emails reminds participants about their dedication. Results and implications will be discussed.



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