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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Symposium #191
CE Offered: BACB
Extensions of Experimental Analysis to Assess Appropriate Behavior of Adolescents
Sunday, May 25, 2008
10:30 AM–11:50 AM
Area: EAB/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jennifer A. Sellers (AdvoServ)
Discussant: Terry J. Page (AdvoServ)
CE Instructor: Jennifer A. Sellers, Ph.D.

The utility of the functional analysis (FA) methodology in identify environmental reinforcers maintaining problem behavior and developing robust treatments has been well documented over the past 20 years (Iwata et al., 1994, Hagopian et al., 1998). However, FA of problem behavior is not always feasible due to the severity of problem behavior, time constraints, or lack of resources. A variety of experimental analyses (e.g., antecedent and concurrent operant) have been successful in identifying environmental reinforcers of appropriate behavior (Conroy & Stichter, 2003; Finkel et al., 2003). The purpose of this symposium is to examine extensions of experimental analyses to the assessment of appropriate behavior. The symposium will include three presentations in which FA of appropriate behavior was conducted with adolescents with problem behavior. The presentations will evaluate the utility of experimental analyses to identify the maintaining variables of appropriate behavior and develop robust treatments. The assessment of appropriate behavior is evaluated via FA, concurrent operant analysis, and assessment based treatments. In addition, FA and concurrent operant assessments are compared in relation to reinforcers identified and treatment efficacy. The findings indicate the need for continued evaluation of FA of appropriate behavior across settings, individuals, and topographies of behavior.

Comparison of Findings Across Functional Analysis and Concurrent Operant Assessments.
CHRISTOPHER J. PERRIN (The Ohio State University), Jennifer A. Sellers (AdvoServ), Brandon M. Badley (University of Delaware), Alonna Marcus (AdvoServ)
Abstract: The utility of extended functional analysis (FA) methodology has been demonstrated in the assessment of problem behavior. However, functional analysis methodology may be contraindicative or result in inconclusive findings. One alternative is to assess appropriate behavior within a concurrent operant analysis (COA) (Finkel, et al. 2003). The purpose of this study was to compare the results of an FA of problem behavior with the results of both a brief and extended COA. Three adolescents with developmental disabilities and problem behavior participated in the study. A FA, extended COA, and brief COA were conducted with each participant. Sessions were 5 minutes and frequency data were collected on choice and problem behavior. In the COA, the relative preference for attention, demands, and tangible items were measured by choice between two social situations on a fixed time 30 s schedule. The extended COA consisted of multiple repetitions of each condition whereas a single session for each condition was conducted in the brief COA. For all participants, the results of the functional analysis were similar to the results of the extended COA. Interobserver data were collected for at least 30% of sessions and averaged at least 80% for all participants.
Functional Analysis of Appropriate Behavior with Adolescents.
JENNIFER A. SELLERS (AdvoServ), Christine Strickland (AdvoServ)
Abstract: Functional analysis (FA) methodology has been successful in identifying the environmental reinforcers maintaining a variety of problem behaviors (Asmus et al., 2004). The use of FA methodology is not appropriate for all topographies of behavior (e.g., life threatening self-injury). Alternative assessments such as structural analyses have been successful in identifying a variety of environmental variables that occasion appropriate behavior (Conroy & Stitchter 2003). The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the utility of FA methodology in identifying environmental reinforcers maintaining the appropriate vocalizations of three adolescents with developmental disabilities and problem behavior. A functional analysis of appropriate behavior was conducted with each participant. Appropriate vocalizations were followed by 30 s access to positive reinforcement in the tangible and attention conditions or a 30 s break from demands in the escape condition. Problem behavior did not result in a planned consequence. Sessions were 5 minutes and data were collected on the frequency of appropriate and problem behavior. Interobserver agreement was obtained on 25% of sessions and averaged 80% or higher for each participant. The results indicated the functional analysis methodology was successful in identifying at least one environmental reinforcer for appropriate vocalizations for each participant.
Teacher Implemented Treatment Probes for Problem Behavior: A Consultative Procedure for Functional Analysis of Classroom Behavior.
ELIZABETH L.W. MCKENNEY (University of Florida), Nancy Waldron (University of Florida), Maureen Conroy (Virginia Commonwealth University)
Abstract: Classroom-based assessments of problem behavior have typically used various forms of descriptive functional behavioral assessment methodology, or FBA (Ervin et al., 2001). There is a dearth of research that has extended the use of experimental functional analysis (FA) methodology to work with typically developing students, students with mild to moderate disruptive behavior, or adolescents (Boyajian et al., 2001; Broussard & Northup, 1997; Ervin et al., 1998; Flood, et al., 2002; Jones et al., 2000; Moore et al., 2002). This investigation examined a teacher implemented FA conducted in general education classrooms with typically developing adolescents. Data will be presented on the integrity with which three general education middle school teachers implemented FA procedures to assess the function of appropriate classroom behavior of typically developing adolescents who also demonstrated disruptive behavior. Behavioral consultation and performance feedback procedures were used to support teacher integrity, following teacher training as outlined by Iwata et al. (2000), Jones et al. (2000), and Wallace et al. (2004). Integrity data before, during, and following training will be presented, as well as the results of a multielement FA on appropriate classroom behavior. Interobserver agreement was obtained on an average of 25% of all sessions and averaged at least 70%.



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