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 #433
International Symposium - New Developments in the Assessment of Clinically Relevant Behavior
Monday, May 26, 2008
2:00 PM–3:20 PM
Boulevard B
Area: CBM/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Jordan T. Bonow (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: These presentations hold the use or development of new ways of assessing clinically relevant behavior in common. They also represent the different ways that basic research can influence our attempts at understanding clinical problems. The first presentation focuses on the development of a self-report instrument for depression that is based on behavior analytic conceptualizations of depression. The second presentation investigates the relationships between performance on seven different discounting tasks and a variety of measures of psychological health and distress. The third presentation compares the effects of training individuals to either observe or control their emotional responses on their ability to tolerate distressing events. The final presentation uses an equivalence preparation to illustrate the effect of an ACT-based intervention of avoidance responding across directly trained and derived relations within equivalence classes.
Developing a Functional Assessment of Depression.
SABRINA DARROW (University of Nevada, Reno), William C. Follette (University of Nevada, Reno), Thomas J. Waltz (University of Nevada, Reno), Jordan T. Bonow (University of Nevada, Reno), Megan Oser (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: This is a presentation on the development of a self-report measure to identify different typologies of depression. The items were derived from behavior analytic conceptualizations of depression. The creation of this measure was inspired by the need to have an assessment that provides treatment utility. Data will be presented on the new measure’s relationship to other measures of psychopathology and psychological health.
Discounting Performance and its Relation to Psychological Health and Distress.
THOMAS J. WALTZ (University of Nevada, Reno), William C. Follette (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: We will be presenting data from a large correlational study investigating the relationship between a discounting task performance and scores on a variety of measures of psychological health and distress. Subjects completed delay and probability discounting tasks that involved small ($10) medium ($1000), and large ($25,000) monetary denominations. They also completed a social discounting task identical to that of Jones and Rachlin (2006). We will discuss the relationships observed and future research aimed at integrating behavioral dynamics into clinical assessment.
Examining the Effect of a Self-as-Context Intervention on Multiple Measures of Task Persistence.
MICHAEL LEVIN (University of Nevada, Reno), Thomas J. Waltz (University of Nevada, Reno), James Edward Yadavaia (University of Nevada, Reno), Steven C. Hayes (University of Nevada, Reno)
Abstract: The ability to persist in distressing tasks has been related to many clinical problems. Recent analogue studies have demonstrated that acceptance-based interventions can improve task persistence using a variety of behavioral measures. Self-as-context, relating to experiences as distinct from an observing self, represents another feature of psychological flexibility that may help one to persist in distressing tasks. The current paper will present the results of a study which examined the impact of a self-as-context intervention compared to a controlling one’s emotions condition on two measures of task persistence. A hold your breath task was used as a measure of acute distress. The Paced Auditory Serial Addition Task - Computerized (PASAT-C), a difficult math task, measured participants’ ability to persist in a distressing task for longer periods of time as well as their performance in the task. The current study presents data on a modified version of the PASAT-C in which participants are provided with the option to pause in order to measure task persistence. The paper will conclude with a discussion of how various measures of task persistence may provide useful information that relates to different features of clinical problems.
The Effect of an ACT-Based Brief Protocol in Altering Avoidance Responding.
SONSOLES VALDIVIA-SALAS (University of Almería, Spain), Carmen Luciano Soriano (University of Almería, Spain), Francisco Jose Ruiz-Jimenez (University of Almería, Spain), Francisco Cabello Luque (University of Murcia, Spain), Dermot Barnes-Holmes (National University of Ireland, Maynooth), Michael J. Dougher (University of New Mexico), Miguel Rodriguez-Valverde (University of Jaen, Spain), Olga Gutierrez Martinez (University of Granada, Spain)
Abstract: Avoidance is one of the behaviors that most characterizes and limits the life of the individuals suffering from anxiety disorders. Several strategies have been employed in the clinical context to undermine avoidance responding, for instance those based on the respondent extinction of aversive functions. In a previous study by the same authors, it was shown that this strategy had little effects on altering avoidance. The present study aims to extend the previous findings by exploring alternative ways of diminishing avoidance. Twenty adults participated. In the first phase, two 6-member equivalence classes (A1 to F1; A2 to F2) were trained. Then, A1 and B1 were aversively conditioned to shocks, and A2 and B2 positively conditioned to points. Subsequently, participants were taught both to avoid the shocks and to gain points. Once transfer of the respondent and the avoidance response had occurred, participants were randomly assigned to either one of two conditions. In the experimental condition, an ACT-based protocol focusing in the value of not avoiding, and defusion was implemented. In the control condition no protocol was implemented. Results showed a clear effect of the ACT-based protocol in altering avoidance to both direct and derived aversive stimuli.



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