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.


34th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2008

Event Details

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Poster Session #95
#95 Poster Session (DDA)
Saturday, May 24, 2008
6:00 PM–7:30 PM
South Exhibit Hall
67. Extensions to Undifferentiated Functional Analyses.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KELLY M. SCHIELTZ (The University of Iowa), Jay W. Harding (The University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (The University of Iowa), Jayme Mews (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of destructive (e.g., self-injury, aggression, destruction) and disruptive (e.g., crying, whining, elopement) behavior during extended pairwise functional analyses after initial multielement functional analyses yielded inconclusive results. The participants were 2 preschool-aged boys with developmental disabilities who engaged in destructive behavior. All functional analysis procedures were conducted in the boys’ homes by their mothers with investigator coaching. Interobserver agreement was assessed across 30% of all sessions and averaged 98%. During Phase 1, functional analyses were conducted within a multielement design, and all contingencies were applied for destructive but not disruptive behavior. Undifferentiated results occurred for destructive behavior, but disruptive behavior occurred during demand conditions for both participants. During Phase 2, escape contingencies for destructive or disruptive behavior were alternated within a reversal design using pairwise functional analyses to determine whether destructive behavior was maintained by negative reinforcement. For 1 participant, results showed that destructive behavior was maintained by negative reinforcement. For the second participant, results showed both disruptive and destructive behavior were maintained by negative reinforcement. Results also suggested a response hierarchy in which disruptive behavior occurred before destructive behavior.
68. A Comparison of Descriptive and Functional Analyses Conducted by Parents in Home Settings.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MALIHA ZAMAN (The University of Iowa), Jay W. Harding (The University of Iowa), David P. Wacker (The University of Iowa), Wendy K. Berg (The University of Iowa), Yaniz C. Padilla Dalmau (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: We compared the outcomes of an antecedent-behavior-consequence (ABC) descriptive analysis to a functional analysis to evaluate correspondence in controlling variables for destructive behavior. Participants were 13 children aged 3 to 6 years with developmental disabilities who displayed destructive behavior. All assessment procedures were conducted by the children’s parents in their homes. Data from ABC recordings conducted over a 5-day period were analyzed by calculating conditional probabilities for antecedent-behavior and behavior-consequence events. A functional analysis for each participant was then conducted by the same parent within a multielement design. Interobserver agreement was assessed for 100% of the destructive behavior responses during the ABC analysis and 30% of the functional analysis sessions, with 94% and 97% agreement, respectively. Results of the ABC analysis showed that parent demands were most likely to precede destructive behavior for 9 of 13 participants and parent attention was most likely to follow destructive behavior for all 13 participants. Results of the functional analysis showed that escape from demands was the primary maintaining variable for 10 of 13 participants. Thus, the ABC analysis was most likely to match the functional analysis with respect to events that occasioned destructive behavior.
69. Using Functional Analysis Outcomes to Assess the Degree of Matching During Descriptive Assessments.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BLAIR PARKER HICKS (The Marcus Institute), Nathan Call (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: The matching law states that the relative rates of responding across two alternatives will approximate the relative rates of reinforcement for those two alternatives (Herrnstein, 1961). The matching law has been demonstrated to account for relative rates of aberrant and appropriate behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities (Borrero & Vollmer, 2002). Descriptive assessments (DAs) were conducted in natural environments, with data collected on problem behavior, appropriate behavior, potential establishing operations, and potential reinforcers. These descriptive data were analyzed retrospectively following functional analyses (FAs) in which reinforcers maintaining problem behavior were identified. Interobserver agreement was assessed during at least 20% of all sessions and always exceeded 80% agreement. Results suggest that reinforcers identified in FAs do not consistently account for patterns observed during initial DAs. The current study extends the literature on matching relations in natural environments by evaluating how different methods of data collection and analysis affect the degree of matching between each participant’s relative rates of responding and reinforcement. In addition, matching relations for problem behavior maintained by non-social contingencies (i.e., automatic reinforcement) were evaluated. Results demonstrate that matching relations may be spurious under certain conditions of data analysis or for certain types of behavior.
70. A Comparison of the Conditional Probabilities of Social Reinforcement and Aberrant Behavior in Descriptive Analyses.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
GARRETT M. PURNELL (The Marcus Institute), Nathan Call (The Marcus Institute), Blair Parker Hicks (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: Descriptive analyses (DAs) involve the direct observation of a child and caregiver in a naturalistic setting during which data are collected on child behavior and environmental events. DAs have been used clinically in the assessment of aberrant behavior in children with developmental disabilities as a means of developing hypotheses concerning the environmental variables that may potentially maintain the child’s problem behavior (Iwata et al., 2000; Vollmer et al., 2001; Borrero et al., 2005). We replicated the methods used by Vollmer et al. (2001) to compare the conditional probability of social reinforcement following instances of aberrant and appropriate behavior with the probability of those same behaviors following the onset of a motivating operation (e.g., restricted attention, restricted access to tangible items, presence of demands). Finally, outcomes of both types of data analysis from the DAs were compared to those of analog functional analyses. In addition, interobserver agreement data were collected for at least 20% of all observations, and always exceeded 80% agreement. Results indicated that examining the probability of problem behavior within the occurrence of motivating operations may be useful in identifying correlations between behavior and environmental events, which can then be used to inform subsequent experimental analyses.
71. Interactions Between Positive and Negative Reinforcement During the Escape Condition of a Functional Analysis.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
KELLY MCKNIGHT (The Marcus Institute), Nathan Call (The Marcus Institute), Joanna Lomas (The Marcus Institute), Diana Garcia (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: There is evidence that escape from demands is the most common reinforcer that maintains problem behavior (Hanley et al., 2003). One potential confound when escape from demands is identified as a functional reinforcer is that it is difficult to determine whether problem behavior is maintained by escape from demands and/or other social reinforcers (e.g., access to tangible items) that are inherently unavailable when compliance with a demand is required. In the current investigation, we examined within-session data from three different functional analysis escape conditions with one participant. Demand conditions varied with respect to the presence and availability of preferred items during breaks from demands that were contingent upon the occurrence of problem behavior. The rates of problem behavior from within each session were then compared across establishing operation (EO) present and absent conditions. Low rates of problem behavior in the EO absent condition of the demand condition that included access to preferred items during breaks from demands suggested that the presence of demands and restricted access to preferred items interacted to evoke problem behavior. A second observer simultaneously and independently collected data during 37.80% of all sessions. Exact agreement did not fall below 94.50% for any dependent variable.
72. The Effects of Conducting a Functional Analysis on Problem Behavior in the Natural Environment.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MICHAEL J. SCHAFER (The Marcus Institute), Nathan Call (The Marcus Institute), Amanda Zangrillo (The Marcus Institute), Joanna Lomas (The Marcus Institute), Robert R. Pabico (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: Functional analysis methodology (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman & Richman, 1982) has been criticized because problem behavior is typically reinforced on a continuous schedule of reinforcement (Carr, 1977). Such criticisms suggest that levels of problem behavior in the natural environment may increase during functional analyses as a result of being reinforced in the context of the assessment. However, few investigations have evaluated the effects of reinforcing problem behavior during functional analyses on problem behavior in the natural environment. In this investigation, data were collected on problem behavior in the natural environment during five daily 10-minute observations selected to represent a variety of activities. Rates of problem behavior in the natural environment prior to and during the functional analysis were compared within a multiple baseline across participants design. Interobserver agreement data were collected for at least 20% of observations, and always met or exceeded 80% agreement. Results show that, for most participants there was little or no difference in levels of problem behavior between baseline and during functional analyses. In fact, in contrast to the criticisms of functional analysis methodology, several participants displayed decreases in the level of problem behavior when functional analyses began.
73. Scatter Plot Analysis: A Replication of Kahng, et al. (1998).
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
DANIELLE ELISABETH EDMONDS (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Frances A. Perrin (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Denise Marzullo (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Patrick R. Progar (Caldwell College), Sandra F. Kokolis (Bancroft NeuroHealth), Loyda Santiago (Bancroft NeuroHealth)
Abstract: The purpose of the current study was to replicate previous research on the use of scatter plot analysis in the event that results from a functional analysis were inconclusive. The utility of using scatter plot analysis in terms of outcome and time were also examined. Throughout the study, data were collected on time spent working on the scatter plots and conducting the analyses. The participants consisted of nine individuals with developmental disabilities living in a short-term residential behavioral stabilization unit. Data on each problem behavior were entered as total number of behaviors exhibited in half-hour intervals 24 hours a day for a one month period. An independent team of behavior analysts then visually examined the scatter plots to determine if a clear pattern was present. Any scatter plots that showed a clear pattern were then disqualified from the study. An in-depth analysis was then conducted on the remaining scatter plots. Results will be discussed in terms of Touchette et al. (1985) and Kahng et al. (1998).
74. A Comparison of Stimulus-Avoidance Assessments Conducted in Natural Environment and Analog Settings.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MEIGHAN ADAMS (The Marcus Institute), Joanna Lomas (The Marcus Institute), M. Alice Shillingsburg (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: Reinforcement-based procedures are often prescribed based on results from functional assessments (Iwata, 1994). However, in some cases functional assessments may yield undifferentiated results, which may make it difficult to implement a reinforcement-based procedure that will decrease problem behavior to clinically acceptable levels. In cases where punishment-based procedures are prescribed, a common method used to select an appropriate punisher is a stimulus avoidance assessment (Fisher, Piazza, Bowman, Hagopian, & Langdon, 1994). These procedures are designed to be implemented in an analog setting and, thus, may not fully evaluate avoidance of each procedure. This may lead clinicians to choose procedures that are less socially acceptable. In the current investigation, we conducted a stimulus avoidance assessment in both analog and natural settings. The results of the assessment in the two settings differed. The assessment conducted in the natural setting yielded more procedures to which avoidance was observed. Based on the results observed in the natural setting, a procedure was selected for implementation in the natural environment. The results suggest that the classroom stimulus avoidance assessment was effective in reducing problem behavior and identifying a procedure that is more commonly used and therefore may be more socially acceptable.
75. A Comparison of Naturalistic and Analog Functional Analyses.
Area: DDA; Domain: Service Delivery
WILLIAM A. FLOOD (May South, Inc.)
Abstract: Functional analysis methodology Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, and Richman (1982/1994) has become the “best practice” assessment tool used by behavior analysts. Typically the functional analysis is done in an “analog” setting. In this study, two brief functional analyses were conducted. The first analysis was a traditional analog assessment and was conducted in a locked room; the second functional analysis was conducted throughout an entire group home. Identical patterns of responding occurred in both analyses in which the participant exhibited the highest amounts of problem behavior in the demand and ignore condition. These preliminary results suggest that this non-traditional environment may be useful for conducting functional analyses when a standard analog assessment is not available or not practical.
76. Providing Consequences to Multiple Topographies in a Brief Functional Analysis: Achieving Differentiated Functions across Topographies.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BRIDGET OULUNDSEN (May South, Inc.), John Mortensen (May South, Inc.), William A. Flood (May South, Inc.)
Abstract: In their functional analysis review article, Hanley, Iwata, and McCord (2003) noted that response classes should consist of one or, at most, a few topographies of problem behavior. In this study, three topographies (i.e., aggression, property destruction, and self-injury) were assessed concurrently in the same functional analysis and all were provided with the same consequences if they occurred in each condition. From the brief analysis, differentiated functions were able to be determined for all three topographies. Both aggression and property destruction were maintained by social positive reinforcement (access to adult attention) while self-injury was multiply controlled by social positive reinforcement (access preferred items) and social negative reinforcement (escape from demands).
77. The Influence of Instruction Type on Escape-Maintained Behavior.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
TORY J. CHRISTENSEN (The University of Iowa), Joel Eric Ringdahl (The University of Iowa), Todd G. Kopelman (The University of Iowa - Hospitals and Clinics), Sandra L. Ginder-Shapiro (The University of Iowa), Anuradha Salil Kumar Dutt (The University of Iowa)
Abstract: A functional analysis was conducted to identify the role environmental variables had on the maintenance of problem behavior (i.e., aggression). Conditions conducted included free play (control), diverted attention/contingent attention, restricted tangible items/contingent tangible items, directed play/escape, easy academic demand/escape, and difficult academic demand/escape. Elevated levels of problem behavior were observed when preferred tangible items were restricted and when directed play activities and difficult academic tasks were presented. Zero to near zero levels of problem behavior were observed when easy academic tasks were presented. Interobserver agreement was collected for at least 20% of all sessions and averaged over 80%.
78. The Effects of Prior Exposure to Antecedent Events as Motivating Operations on Automatically Reinforced Behavior and Task Responding.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
YI-CHIEH CHUNG (The Ohio State University), Helen I. Cannella-Malone (The Ohio State University)
Abstract: Previous studies have demonstrated that manipulating antecedent events may serve as either establishing or abolishing operations; however, these results were varying. The current research examined the combined and separate effects of prior exposure to two antecedent events, access to attention and automatically reinforced behavior (ARB), on reducing ARB and increasing task responding in four individuals with significant intellectual disabilities. A modified multielement design (Phase 1) and an alternating treatment design plus multiple baseline design across participants (Phase 2) were implemented. Results suggested that participants may demonstrate higher rates of ARB during instruction when prior accesses of ARB were not available.
79. Parametric Analysis of Presession Exposure to Edible and Nonedible Items.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JOLENE R. SY (University of Florida), John C. Borrero (University of Maryland, Baltimore County)
Abstract: We conducted a parametric evaluation of presession exposure to edible and nonedible reinforcers in order to determine the effects of “small,” “medium,” and “large” periods of presession access on response rates during sessions immediately following these periods. For 2 participants, presession access to edible and nonedible reinforcers for “small,” “medium,” and “large” durations decreased the reinforcing efficacy of those stimuli. For the remaining 2 participants, presession access to edible and nonedible reinforcers either maintained or increased the reinforcing efficacy of those stimuli. The results suggest that presession access to edible or nonedible reinforcers has idiosyncratic effects across individuals. Additionally, the results suggest that minimal differences exist between rates of responding after “small,” “medium,” and “large” periods of presession access, using the values assessed in the current study.
80. An Applied Example of a Transitive Conditioned Establishing Operation.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
ROBERT T. MCNEARY (The Marcus Institute), Nathan Call (The Marcus Institute), Richard K. McCranie (The Marcus Institute), Joanna Lomas (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: Transitive CEOs are stimuli in the context of which the reinforcing or punishing effectiveness of existing conditioned reinforcers or punishers is altered (McGill, 1999). To date there have been few published applied examples of transitive conditioned establishing operations (CEOs). In this study, we illustrate the presence of transitive CEOs within the context of functional analyses (Iwata, 1982). Using a reversal design, each participant was exposed to two series of test conditions within a functional analysis. For one participant escape from demands was shown to only serve as a functional reinforcer when he was simultaneously experiencing eczema. For the other participant, it was demonstrated that attention only served as a functional reinforcer when it was restricted within the context of demands. Interobserver agreement data were collected for 20% of all sessions and exceeded 80% for all sessions. Results for both cases indicated that the presence of a transitive CEO in that the reinforcing effectiveness of attention or escape from demands was altered by a second stimulus condition.
81. The Effects of Transitive EO Manipulation on Choice Responding.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
CHRISTOPHER A. TULLIS (The Marcus Institute), Crystal N. Bowen (The Marcus Institute), Amber L. Valentino (The Marcus Institute), M. Alice Shillingsburg (The Marcus Institute)
Abstract: Michael (1982, 1993) described the concept of establishing operations (EO) and their potential clinical utility. Michael further delineates several types of EO including the surrogate EO, reflexive EO, and transitive EO. Most research on EO has focused on satiation and deprivation (McAdam et al., 2005; O’Reilly et al., 2006) while little has been done to examine other types such as the transitive EO. Transitive EO is defined as stimuli in the context of which the effectiveness of existing conditioned reinforcers or punishers is altered (McGill, 1999) and the frequency of behaviors associated with those reinforcers or punishers is altered. The purpose of the present investigation was to demonstrate the manipulation of the transitive EO in the context of a paired choice preference assessment (Fisher et al., 1992). Participants were presented with pairs of items and their selections were recorded. During some sessions, the participants were given a preferred item (i.e., pudding) without the associated utensil (i.e., spoon was missing). The associated missing utensil was included in the preference assessment. Changes in the frequency of selection of the associated utensil in the presence and absence of the preferred item were recorded.
82. Reflexive Conditioned Establishing Operation within the Demand Context with Children with Developmental Disabilities.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
BRIANA R. LOPEZ (The Marcus Institute), Crystal N. Bowen (The Marcus Institute), Diana Garcia (The Marcus Institute), M. Alice Shillingsburg (The Marcus Institute), Michael E. Kelley (The Marcus Institute and Emory University)
Abstract: An establishing operation (EO) is an environmental set of conditions that affects the value of a stimulus and therefore changes the current frequency of behaviors that have produced that stimulus in the past. Previous research has demonstrated the effects of manipulating EO on the effectiveness of items as reinforcement (Vollmer & Iwata, 1991), preferences for items (McAdams et al., 2005) and problem behavior (McComas, Thompson, & Johnson, 2003) Much research on EO has focused on deprivation and satiation effects, whereas little research has been conducted on the manipulation of conditioned EO (CEO), such as reflexive CEO. Reflexive CEO are previously neutral environmental stimuli that acquire motivative functions via correlation with some form of worsening or improving conditions. In the current study, the effects of manipulating the reflexive CEO on problem behavior and appropriate in-seat behavior were examined in an instructional setting. The participants were three children with developmental disabilities. The results were mixed. For one participant, in-seat behavior during instruction was higher and aberrant behavior was lower during the RCEO manipulation and when instructions were later presented. For two participants, in-seat behavior increased during the RCEO manipulation but returned to baseline levels when presented to instructional tasks. Implications are discussed.
83. Background Music as Abolishing Operation for Problem Behaviors during Reinforcement Assessment.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
MARCIE DESROCHERS (State University of New York, Brockport), Rebecca Oshlag (New York School for the Blind), Angela Kennelly (State University of New York, Brockport), Rachael Oshlag (Hillel of Rochester Area Colleges/University of Rochester)
Abstract: Students’ problem behaviors can be exacerbated by the general training environment and lead to reduced learning. Conducting training in a controlled environment with restricted sensory stimulation (compared to the typical classroom) is assumed to be an effective instructional strategy to reduce student off-task behavior. We will describe the results of a behavioral assessment with one child, who is blind and has severe mental retardation. This child displayed competing problem behaviors while training was conducted in a restricted training environment. We hypothesized that the reduction in environmental noise was detrimental for her learning the educational task. To analyze the effects of background music as an abolishing operation for competing behaviors, we manipulated conditions of music and no music using a reversal replication research design during reinforcer assessment phases. We found that no standing up and less self-stimulatory behaviors occurred during the music condition.
84. The Effects of Socially Validated Clothing on Problem Behaviors and Mood in Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JEANNE KNEELAND (Evergreen Center), Gordon A. DeFalco (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Acceptable hygiene and appearance have been suggested as factors that may facilitate social inclusion for individuals with developmental disabilities. To what extent, however, does improving hygiene and appearance affect the individual with a developmental disability? In this study, clothing was selected, as a feature of appearance to evaluate because of the ease in manipulating clothing and the visibility of clothing in social situations. The participants were 2 male and 2 female students at a community-based residential school with a diagnosis of mild to moderate mental retardation and/or autism. Clothing receiving a rating of 4 or 5 was selected by the participants from socially validated items rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale by male and female adolescents of approximately the same age. A multiple baseline design across male-female pairs was used to assess the effects of clothing and compliments in combination and separately on the display of recorded problem behaviors and overall mood rated by the adolescents and their head teachers. Results indicated a mean improvement in rated mood and problem behaviors during the clothing and compliments and compliments alone but not clothing alone phases. Discussion will focus on appearance as a prerequisite for social inclusion and limitations of this study.
85. Assessment and Treatment of Aggression Maintained by Escape from Close Proximity.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
DENISE KUREK (Kennedy Krieger Institute), David E. Kuhn (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Previous research has shown that the majority of problem behaviors displayed by individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities were maintained by escape from aversive conditions (e.g.., demands: Iwata et al., 1994). Recent research has shown that the close physical proximity of others may be aversive to some individuals as well (Oliver et al., 2001). A sensitivity to close proximity can limit or interfere with various daily activities (e.g., participating in educational activities, sitting in a waiting room, etc.). Since it is not always possible to avoid close proximity at many locations or events, toleration of close proximity may be necessary to increase daily and community functioning. In this investigation, the physical aggression displayed by a 19-year-old girl with developmental disabilities was demonstrated to be maintained by escape from close proximity. Subsequently, a function-based intervention was evaluated incorporating functional communication training (FCT) and extinction. Ultimately, a baskethold timeout procedure was added as the reinforcement schedule was thinned. Data were collected on aggression as well as communication. This treatment package was demonstrated to be effective in reducing rates of aggression to near zero levels. Reliability data were collected for one-half of the sessions and averaged 90%.
86. The Effects of Paraprofessional Proximity on the Social Interaction of Children With and Without Disabilities.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
JOANIE GARRO (Private Consultant)
Abstract: The proximity of an adult may affect the social interactions of children with and without disabilities in inclusive education settings (Werts, Zigmond, & Leeper, 2001;Young, Simpson, Myles, & Kamps, 1997). In the current study, a multielement design was used to examine the relationship between the location of a paraprofessional and the frequency of social interactions between children with and without disabilities. Participants were two children diagnosed with autism and mental retardation, along with their typically developing peers. The amount of distance between the paraprofessional and the child with disabilities was manipulated in two conditions. In the proximal condition, the paraprofessional remained at arm’s length from the student with disabilities. In the distal condition, the paraprofessional remained at least 10 feet from the student. Total social initiations and responses of all participants were examined under the two conditions. The children with and without disabilities interacted more frequently when the paraprofessional was in the distal position. The general education teacher also generally directed more social initiations to the child with disabilities when the paraprofessional was in the distal condition. The paraprofessional interacted more frequently with the child with disabilities when positioned within arm’s length of the student.
87. Assessing the Effects of Social Proximity and Attention on Problem Behavior.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
AMBER BORKOSKI (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Stephanie A. Contrucci Kuhn (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Frederick W. Hoots (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Social proximity can influence the occurrence of problem behavior. Oliver, Oxener, Hearn, and Hall (2001) demonstrated that higher levels of aggressive behavior were observed when a caregiver was in close proximity to a child versus when they were in distant proximity. In this study, social contact (i.e., attention) was delivered noncontingently during both close and distant proximity. It is possible that the contingent delivery of attention may differentially affect problem behavior when a therapist is in close proximity vs. when they are in distant proximity. In the current study, the effects of terminating social proximity with and without contingent attention were assessed for a 14-year-old boy who displayed aggression, self-injury, and disruptive behavior. Results indicated that problem behavior primarily occurred to terminate therapist proximity. However, in a subsequent treatment evaluation termination of therapist proximity contingent on communication was not effective in reducing problem behavior until an option to access attention via communication and competing stimuli were added. Reliability data were collected for one-half of the sessions and averaged 90%.
88. Within Session Analysis of Physiological Responding and Self-Injury with and without Restraint.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
LAUREN BEAULIEU (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Heather Jennett (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Self-injury and self-restraint have been observed to co-occur in some individuals with developmental disabilities. A hypothesis regarding the relationship between these responses is that self-restraint is maintained by negative reinforcement or the avoidance of the aversive consequences associated with self-injury (Fisher, Grace, & Murphy, 1996). In accordance with this hypothesis, both self-restraint and mechanical restraint may act as a signal that self-injury will not occur. In the current study, it was hypothesized that removing mechanical restraint may have acted a conditioned aversive stimulus which signaled the aversive properties of self-injury. In order to further examine this possible relation, a physiological measure of heart rate was obtained. A within-session analysis was conducted to assess changes in heart rate and engagement in self-injury with and without restraint. Results showed that heart rate was lower and self-injury did not occur with restraints, and that heart rate and self-injury dramatically increased when restraints were removed.
89. The Effects of Response Blocking on Physiological Responding and Ritualistic Behavior in an Individual with Autism and OCD.
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
HEATHER JENNETT (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Lauren Beaulieu (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Louis P. Hagopian (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: Individuals with autism are characterized by restricted, repetitive, stereotyped patterns of behavior (DSM-IV) which are often confused with ritualistic or compulsive behavior characteristic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is typically conceptualized in terms of negative reinforcement. That is, ritualistic behaviors are performed in order to terminate or avoid an aversive stimulus or state. If rituals are prevented or blocked, the aversive state is not avoided. In the current study, this conceptualization was examined by using a physiological measure as an indirect index of an aversive state. A 17-year-old female with autism, severe mental retardation, and OCD participated. A reversal design was conducted to assess the effects of response blocking on heart rate and engagement in rituals. The findings were further replicated using within session analyses in which rituals were and were not blocked. Overall results showed dramatic increases in heart rate when rituals were blocked.



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