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 #274
School-based Behavioral Interventions for Children: Application to Anger, Reading and Depression
Sunday, May 25, 2008
4:00 PM–5:20 PM
Boulevard A
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)
Discussant: Amy E. Naugle (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: A significant proportion of children struggling with educational and emotional problems do not receive developmentally appropriate and empirically tested interventions. This is especially true for children who come from families with limited financial means or who live in communities (poverty-stricken urban or semi-rural/rural areas) where needed services may not be readily available, affordable, or accessible. The talks in this symposium describe attempts to target youth in need who may otherwise fail to receive (or receive much less comprehensive) interventions and to evaluate the efficacy of the interventions provided. To do this we have partnered with a number of public schools to provide services on-site. In the first talk, Cotter, Dillon, and Gaynor will present data from a small comparative efficacy study of two interventions (a cognitive-behavioral intervention compared to a collection of anger control games) for angry/aggressive behavior in elementary schoolers. Arvans, Steinert-Otto, and Gaynor will then present data on the efficacy of a fluency-based reading intervention, compared to a wait-list control condition, for elementary school students struggling with reading. In the third talk, Eckshtain and Gaynor present outcome data from children, who received behavior therapy, and a caregiver, who received behavioral parent training, targeting child depressive symptoms.
School-Based Treatment of Anger: A Comparison of the Anger Coping Program and the Anger Solutions Collection.
DAVID DENHAM COTTER (Western Michigan University), Courtney Dillon (Western Michigan University), Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: This study examined two approaches to school-based anger management, using a randomized between-groups design. One intervention, the Anger Coping Program (ACP; Larson & Lochman, 2002), is a group-based cognitive-behavioral treatment that has some empirical support, having been found to outperform waitlist and minimal control conditions in several studies. The comparison condition involves provision of a collection of commercially marketed games/activities-the Anger Solutions Collection (ASC). The ASC condition included a board game, card game, and a workbook of activities. Both interventions were provided to groups of 4-8 same gender students using two therapists per group. Session length was 45 minutes and sessions were held twice weekly for 9 weeks. Currently 2 groups of boys (1 receiving ACP and 1 ASC) have completed treatment. Two groups comprised of girls are set to begin treatment and recruitment is underway for 2 more groups of boys. Primary dependent measures include child self-reported anger, parent and teacher ratings of behavior, and changes in the number and type of office referrals for poor conduct taken from the school’s computerized database. When complete, this data will constitute a rigorous evaluation of ACP, assessing whether it appears to outperform another active intervention that includes the same amount of contact with participants and is also focused on anger.
Improving Reading Fluency and Comprehension: A Comparison of Read Naturally to Education as Usual.
REBECCA K. ARVANS-FEENEY (Western Michigan University), Patricia Steinert-Otto (Portage Public Schools), Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Difficulty learning how to read is not only an educational problem, but is also a risk factor for current and long-term behavior problems. This is especially troubling because reading difficulties are common, afflicting anywhere from 20-40% of elementary school students. Read Naturally is a fluency-based computer program designed to increase reading abilities and overall reading comprehension. The current study assesses the efficacy of daily 30-45 minute sessions of Read Naturally provided over a two-month period compared to an Education as Usual control condition. Twenty elementary students will receive Read Naturally while twenty matched peers will receive Education as Usual. Currently 28 children are enrolled at some point in the protocol. Weekly repeated measures and global pre-post standardized measures of reading are the main dependent variables. Teacher ratings of classroom behavior problems will also be gathered. The results will provide information about the efficacy of Read Naturally for increasing reading abilities in elementary students and whether improving reading skills results in a decrease in behavior problems at school.
School-Based Treatment of Child Depression: Child-Focused Behavior Therapy Plus Conjoint Behavioral Parent Training.
DIKLA ECKSHTAIN (Western Michigan University), Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: In the present study children were provided 16 sessions of individual cognitive-behavioral therapy delivered at their elementary or middle school located in a semi-rural community (situated at the fringe of a mid-sized city) in southwest Michigan. In most studies of school-based CBT, caregivers have played only a minor role in their child’s treatment. Thus, to directly target the family context and caregiver-child relations, caregivers received 7 sessions of behavioral parent training, also provided at the child’s school. Fifteen children with at least moderate symptoms of depression participated. The depression data (collected at pre-, mid-, and post-treatment and at 1-month and 6-months follow up) were benchmarked against those from existing randomized (psychosocial and pharmacotherapy) clinical trials that used similar measures, inclusion criteria, age ranges, and sample sizes. The observed changes were comparable or better to those obtained in other studies evaluating CBT or fluoxetine and markedly better than no treatment or placebo comparison conditions drawn from the literature. In addition, positive changes in psychosocial functioning were noted from the perspective of the child’s caregivers and teachers as well, providing some social validity for the results.



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