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 #57
CE Offered: BACB
Effects of Treatment Integrity on Behavioral Interventions
Saturday, May 26, 2007
2:30 PM–3:50 PM
Elizabeth DE
Area: DDA/CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Claire C St. Peter (West Virginia University)
Discussant: Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
CE Instructor: Claire C St. Peter, Ph.D.

Mistakes made during the implementation of treatments (frequently called "treatment integrity failures") can lead to decreases in treatment efficacy. The research presented in this symposium examines the impact of treatment integrity failures on common components of behavioral interventions for persons with disabilities. These interventions include both response-acquisition and response-reduction procedures. Weiss, Libby, and Paquette examine the effects of degradations in procedural integrity on acquisition of a novel, arbitrary response with 3 participants with autism. Two papers examine the effects of integrity failures on response-reduction procedures. Pabico, Roane, and Kelley examine the effects of a particular type of integrity failure, delay, in a punishment procedure. Finally, St. Peter Pipkin and Vollmer used a non-clinical population (college students) to determine possible effects of treatment integrity failures on DRA treatments. All three papers showed some detrimental impact of treatment integrity failures on intervention outcome. Results will be discussed in terms of the potential effects of treatment integrity failures on treatment outcome.

Variations of Procedural Integrity and its Effects on Task Acquisition within Chains.
JULIE S. WEISS (New England Center for Children), Myrna E. Libby (New England Center for Children), Gregory Paquette (New England Center for Children)
Abstract: This study compared the effects of variations of procedural integrity in delivering prompts on task acquisition within chains. Three participants diagnosed with autism learned to put together two 8-step arbitrary Lego figures in a forward chaining sequence with most-to-least prompting. An alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of two prompting conditions, 100% procedural integrity with no programmed errors and 70% procedural integrity with errors programmed on 30% of trials. After acquisition, generalization probes were implemented with novel teachers and in a different environment. All sessions were videotaped. IOA was collected during 40% of sessions and averaged over 90%. All participants achieved independence in building the figures in the 100% procedural integrity condition. Participants either did not acquire in the 70% procedural integrity condition or acquired in the 70% condition but at a slower rate than the 100% condition Thus, degradations in procedural integrity interfered with skill acquisition. All participants generalized performance across teachers and environments.
An Evaluation of a Delayed Time-Out Procedure in the Treatment of Problem Behavior.
ROBERT-RYAN S. PABICO (The Marcus Institute), Henry S. Roane (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute), Michael E. Kelley (The Marcus Institute and Emory University)
Abstract: The use of reinforcement-based procedures (e.g., functional communication training) alone may not be always effective in decreasing levels of problem behavior (e.g., aggression, SIB, and pica) to clinically acceptable levels. Thus, the use of punishment-based procedures may be warranted. Previous literature on the use of punishment indicates that in order for punishment to be effective the procedure must be delivered following every occurrence of the response. Given this, in a child’s natural environment the delivery of a punishment procedure may not be practical to implement following every occurrence of problem behavior. For example, the parent may provide multiple warnings prior to placing the child in time-out or the child may attempt to avoid application of the punishment procedure. Thus, there are conditions in a child’s natural environment that may lead to delivery of the punisher on an intermittent or delayed schedule. In the current investigation, we evaluated the use of a delayed time-out procedure to decrease levels of problem behavior. Throughout all analyses, reliability data were collected on at least 25% of sessions. These results will be discussed in terms of examining the use of delayed time-out interventions that can be transferred to naturalistic settings.
Effects of Treatment Integrity Failures on DRA: A Laboratory Study.
CLAIRE C ST. PETER (West Virginia University), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is commonly used as a treatment for problem behavior. Although DRA procedures are typically straightforward, they may not be consistently implemented as designed. We assessed the effects of failures to deliver earned reinforcers (omission errors), inappropriate reinforcer delivery (commission errors), and blended omission and commission errors on DRA, using a controlled laboratory preparation with non-clinical participants. Seventeen undergraduates participated. Treatment integrity levels varied from 100% to 20% integrity. Results showed that omission errors did not result in increases in analog problem behavior, while commission errors and blended errors resulted in increases in analog problem behavior and decreases in analog appropriate behavior at 40% and 20% integrity. These outcomes demonstrate that certain types or levels of integrity failure are more detrimental than others. Additionally, results suggest that DRA is relatively robust during integrity failures, but that those failures can still lead to loss of treatment effects when they occur frequently.



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