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.


33rd Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2007

Event Details

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Symposium #20
CE Offered: BACB
Extensions of Functional Analysis Methodology at a Residential Treatment Center
Saturday, May 26, 2007
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Elizabeth DE
Area: DDA/EAB; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Robert F. Littleton Jr. (Evergreen Center)
Discussant: Ann Filer (BEACON Services)
CE Instructor: Thomas L. Zane, Ph.D.

Functional assessment procedures are the gold standard used to assess the causes of a wide range of maladaptive behaviors. Over the past several years, researchers have assessed the influence of a myriad of variables that could influence functional analysis results. By doing so, client treatment has improved in quality. This symposium reports the results of several extensions of functional analysis methodology and suggests clinical implications of the findings.

What is the Effect of Medications on Long-Term Functional Analysis Results?
THOMAS L. ZANE (Evergreen Center), Lawrence L. Lockwood (Evergreen Center), Tara-Lynn Burbee (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Research has documented that functional analysis results are influenced by several variables. For example, brief versus extended functional analyses sometimes differ in results. The influence of establishing operations (e.g., pre-session attention) can reduce the occurrence of behavior during functional analysis sessions. The question addressed in the current research was to what extent (if any) did medication changes influence functional analysis results. The subjects were several students attending a residential treatment center. These subjects engaged in maladaptive behaviors to the extent that psychotropic medication was given. Before changes in medication (either increase, decrease, starting, or stopping) took place, staff performed extended functional analysis sessions the week prior to the change, and a week after the medication would be at eventual strength (or totally eliminated from the bloodstream). FA results before and after the medication change were compared to determine any difference. Results were discussed in terms of clinical implications and suggestions for conducting functional analyses.
To What Extent Can Functional Analysis Procedures Determine the Function of Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors?
TARA-LYNN BURBEE (Evergreen Center), Lawrence L. Lockwood (Evergreen Center), Thomas L. Zane (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Functional analysis methodology has been used successfully to determine the operant cause of a variety of behaviors, including noncompliance, aggression, self-injury, and self-stimulation. There is little research on using functional analysis procedures with behaviors thought of to be more psychiatric in nature, such as obsessive-compulsive. The purpose of this study was to conduct a functional analysis of classic obsessive-compulsive behavior. Students at a residential treatment center with such a diagnosis served as subjects. Teachers used analog environments to create conditions that would prompt the obsessive-compulsive chain of behaviors. Within that context, the classic functional analysis conditions were employed. Results were provided showing the extent to which there were differentiated results. Comments about possible modification of functional analysis procedures were made.
An Analysis of the Reinforcing Effects of Different Components of Attention.
LAWRENCE L. LOCKWOOD (Evergreen Center), Tara-Lynn Burbee (Evergreen Center), Thomas L. Zane (Evergreen Center)
Abstract: Many maladaptive behaviors are determined, through functional analysis methodology, to be caused by attention. This is not surprising. However, often the attention provided by another person is multifaceted in nature. That is, there are several components of attention, including eye contact, touch, and tone of voice. It is not clear in many situations exactly what attention an individual is seeking by engaging in maladaptive responses. The purpose of this study was to systematically vary components of attention for attention-maintained behavior, to determine, per subject, what component(s) were and were not reinforcing. Students attending a residential treatment facility served as subjects. After standard functional analysis sessions were conducted to experimentally verify that the maladaptive behaviors were indeed a function of attention, customized sessions were run testing the effect of attention components (i.e., eye contact, touch, and verbalizations) on each subject, utilizing an alternating treatments design. Results showed that subjects varied on the type of attention influenced targeted behaviors. Results were discussed in terms of clinical implications and suggestions for functional analysis methodology.



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