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 #147
CE Offered: BACB
Factors Affecting Treatment Success I: Treatment Integrity
Sunday, May 27, 2007
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Elizabeth DE
Area: DDA; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sung Woo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Discussant: Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Sung Woo Kahng, Ph.D.

Behavioral interventions have proven to be effective in reducing problem behaviors exhibited by individuals with developmental disabilities. Despite the efficacy of this technology, there continue to be barriers to long-term treatment success. One such barrier is treatment integrity, which is the extent to which an intervention is implemented as designed. The purpose of this symposium is to present research in treatment integrity. The goal is to facilitate a meaningful discussion of treatment follow through, which we hope will promote a growth of research in this area.

Evaluating Delayed Reinforcement as a Treatment Challenge in Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior.
MELISSA M. SHULLEETA (University of Maryland, Baltimore Co.), Sung Woo Kahng (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Keith MacWhorter (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Nicole Lynn Hausman (Kennedy Krieger Institute)
Abstract: In the field of applied behavior analysis, research is conducted using controlled experimentation. However, in an applied setting, effects of treatments may be challenged by integrity failures. The current study introduced a methodology where an initially successful differential reinforcement-based treatment was faced with delayed reinforcement. Specifically, varying delays to reinforcement were evaluated to investigate how long the treatment effects were maintained. For one participant, results suggested that treatment gains were not compromised with less than full implementation. However, with robust changes in delays to reinforcement, problem behavior eventually increased for another participant. Results may aid in planning treatment generalization, while future research may be conducted to assess manipulations of additional variables that constitute full treatment implementation.
A Parametric Evaluation of the Differential Reinforcement of Alternative Behavior Procedure.
ELIZABETH S. ATHENS (University of Florida), Timothy R. Vollmer (University of Florida), Michael E. Kelley (The Marcus Institute and Emory University)
Abstract: Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is a commonly used treatment for problem behavior. Usually with DRA problem behavior is placed on extinction while an alternative, more appropriate behavior, is reinforced. In some cases, however, the targeted problem behavior is too disruptive or dangerous to place on extinction. The purpose of the current study, therefore, is to evaluate a variation of the DRA procedure designed to provide more immediate, longer duration, and higher quality reinforcers for appropriate behavior relative to reinforcers for problem behavior. To do this, we differentially manipulated the parameters of reinforcement along several dimensions. Specifically, for the appropriate response (relative to the inappropriate response) we made a) reinforcement following this behavior more immediate b) the duration of reinforcement greater c) increased the quality of reinforcement or d) a combination of these parameters. Under such manipulations, for several participants, differential reinforcement effects were obtained. The procedure is conceptualized as differential reinforcement insofar as reinforcement parameters differentially favored appropriate behavior.
Direct Observations of Treatment Integrity: Assessing Observer Reactivity.
ROBIN CODDING (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Gary M. Pace (The May Institute), Andrew Livanis (Long Island University)
Abstract: Performance feedback enhances the implementation of individual behavior support plans. In order to effectively provide performance feedback to classroom teachers a viable method of assessment must be identified. Both direct and indirect assessment techniques have been employed. Although direct observations may have the advantage of providing more specific feedback to teachers, this method of assessment has been criticized as evoking reactivity from participants. That is, the individual observed may employ an intervention as intended simply because the observer is present. The present study describes a study that assessed the effects of observer presence on teacher performance before and following performance feedback. Observations were conducted by a support professional for three public middle school teachers working in a classroom designated for children with behavior disorders. Following an alternating treatments design, teacher observations were conducted either inside the classroom or from behind a one-way mirror on a variable-interval schedule. Results from a multiple-baseline design demonstrated that staff performance was unaffected by the presence of an observer, and, that performance feedback lead to improved treatment implementation. These results suggest that direct observations do represent a viable method of assessment of treatment integrity.



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