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 #420
CE Offered: BACB
Clinical Behavior Analysis: Evaluating Treatment for Bulimic Behavior and Smoking
Monday, May 28, 2007
3:00 PM–4:20 PM
Edward D
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Amanda Bosch (University of Florida)
Discussant: David Reitman (Nova Southeastern University)
CE Instructor: Raymond G. Miltenberger, Ph.D.

This symposium includes three papers with recent research on the treatment of binge eating and purging associated with bulimia, and smoking. In the first study, Bosch and colleagues describe a study in which extinction was used to treat binge eating maintained by automatic negative reinforcement. In the second study, Azrin and Kellen describe research in which a slowed eating rate resulted in a decreased level of purging behavior associated with bulimia. In the final paper, Anderson and Gaynor describe a multifaceted behavioral intervention for smoking. David Reitman will serve as discussant and comment on the papers.

Evaluation of Extinction as a Functional Treatment for Binge Eating.
AMANDA BOSCH (University of Florida), Raymond G. Miltenberger (University of South Florida), Amy Gross (Western Michigan University), Peter J. Knudson (North Dakota State University), Carrie M. Brower-Breitwieser (North Dakota State University)
Abstract: Binge eating is primarily maintained by automatic negative reinforcement in the form of relief from negative emotions elicited by negative thinking. Although extinction has been thought impossible with behaviors maintained by automatic negative reinforcement, this study evaluated the application of extinction with binge eating. Four women who reported engaging in binge eating at least twice a week participated. To implement extinction, participants listened to an audio tape recording of their own negative thinking associated with their negative emotional responses when they began binge eating to prevent alleviation of the negative emotions contingent on binge eating. The procedure effectively reduced the frequency and duration of the binges, in addition to reducing the number of calories consumed during a binge for all participants when the procedure was correctly implemented. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Bulimic Purging Altered by the Rate of Eating.
NATHAN H. AZRIN (Nova Southeastern University), Michael J. Kellen (Nova Southeastern University)
Abstract: Self-induced vomiting was found to decrease when the rate of eating was experimentally decreased in a study of several profoundly retarded institutionalized residents exhibiting this unusual problem. Experiments with normal nonretarded outpatients diagnosed as bulimic revealed that this same result occurred for these typical outpatient bulimics obtaining a quantitative measure of the urge to vomit after eating slowly the same "taboo" foods that otherwise resulted in bulimic purging when eaten rapidly. These results suggest a possible effective treatment for bulimic purging.
A Multi-Modal Treatment for Cigarette Smokers.
JAMES ANDERSON (Western Michigan University), Scott T. Gaynor (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: Smoking is a serious health problem worldwide. Several intervention techniques to help people quit have demonstrated some measure of success, though none has clearly distinguished itself as a superior method of treatment. Nicotine transdermal systems have become increasingly popular and have demonstrated some success, but relapse rates remain alarmingly high. Psychology has offered some promising intervention techniques, yet none has produced consistent data of sustained abstinence. Motivational Interviewing (MI), Exposure Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and contingency management have all demonstrated promise in assisting smokers to achieve abstinence. In the present study, we have combined aspects of all of these treatment techniques. The protocol includes one session of MI (in order to assess and facilitate desire and commitment to change), seven sessions of ACT-enhanced exposure therapy with concurrent scheduled smoking reduction (to help the patient learn to tolerate withdrawal symptoms while accepting their inevitability and maintaining his or her commitment to abstinence), and a week of contingency management (in order to help patients achieve an initial period of total abstinence that previous research has indicated is a good predictor of long-term success in maintaining abstinence). The presentation will provide a detailed rationale for the present protocol, available data, and future implications.



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