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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Paper Session #77
International Paper Session - Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Difficult Cases
Saturday, May 24, 2008
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Boulevard C
Area: CBM
Chair: Susan Elizabeth Clarke (Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth University)
Adolescent Self-Mutilating Behaviors: The Role of Experiential Avoidance.
Domain: Applied Research
LAURA HOWE-MARTIN (University of North Texas ), Amanda C. Adcock (University of North Texas ), Amy Murrell (University of North Texas ), Charles Guarnaccia (University of North Texas)
Abstract: Repetitive self-mutilation (RSM) is defined as direct, socially unacceptable, repetitive behavior that causes mild to moderate physical injury. This behavior has become increasingly prevalent among adolescents. The purpose of the current study was to explore the utility of the Experiential Avoidance Model (EAM; Chapman, Gratz, & Brown, 2006) for explaining the functional nature of adolescent RSM behaviors. The EAM proposes that self-mutilation is one in a class of functionally equivalent behaviors used to facilitate avoidance of unwanted internal experiences. Anonymous questionnaires were administered to a community sample of adolescents (N = 211) ages 13 to 18, to assess self-mutilation behaviors, psychological distress, functionally equivalent behaviors, exposure to self-mutilation in social contexts, and various forms of experiential avoidance. Results indicated that approximately 1/3 of the participants reported engaging in self-mutilation at least once, and that 16% of all participants reported engaging in this behavior repeatedly and recently. Empirical findings generally upheld the underlying tenets of the EAM, with the exception that some findings did not generalize to male adolescents. This is consistent with some literature that indicates sex differences in self-mutilation behaviors and correlates among community samples of adolescents. Limitations, clinical applications, and directions for future research will be discussed.
An RCT Comparison of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Treatment as Usual for Treatment Resistant Clients.
Domain: Applied Research
SUSAN ELIZABETH CLARKE (Dorset HealthCare NHS Foundation Trust, Bournemouth University), Jessica Kingston (University of Southampton), Bob Remington (University of Southampton)
Abstract: Comprised of generic processes, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is thought to have diverse applicability to chronic, multiply disordered clients who – despite carrying different diagnosis - share a tendency to avoid their unwanted private experience (Kohlenberg, Hayes & Tsai, 1993). We describe a randomized control comparison of an ACT group with a TAU group, which drew heavily on CBT (Beck, 2005). Both groups ran for 16 weeks and included participants who had attended at least one previous therapeutic intervention that lasted 8+ sessions. Exclusion criteria included a current eating disorder, self-harming behavior, substance dependency, psychosis or learning disability. Participants (N=40) completed the SCID-II, BDI, STAI, SCL-90, and the AAQ before and after the intervention and at a 6-month follow up. All had Axis I presentations and N = 14 were personality disordered. Preliminary results suggest that both groups show reliable reductions in depression, anxiety and global symptom severity (Truax & Jacobson, 1991). Some changes in personality syndromes were also observed. These data demonstrate the utility of ACT for reducing Axis I and Axis II symptomatology, and its successful delivery to a trans-diagnostic group. Six-month follow up data are currently being collected and will be available for the conference.



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