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.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

Previous Page


Symposium #190
CE Offered: BACB
Acceptance and Commitment Training: Mindfulness-Based Interventions Beyond the Therapy Room
Sunday, May 28, 2017
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Hyatt Regency, Capitol Ballroom 4
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Daryl Rachal (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Discussant: Daryl Rachal (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
CE Instructor: Scott Herbst, Ph.D.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) initially developed as clinical behavior analytic psychotherapy which focused on building effective, meaningful repertoires in the presence of previously aversive private events. As a psychotherapy, ACT has been primarily empirically evaluated as a treatment for difficulties usually classified as psychopathology. This is somewhat inconsistent, however, with the behavior analytic approach as psychopathology is typically classified topographically instead of functionally. This symposium presents exploratory data on ACT interventions for individuals targeting problems in everyday living. The first paper considers the behavioral changes of students throughout a class designed to teach ACT essentials for college student adjustment. The second paper explores the feasibility and utility of an ACT-based intervention with a group of MMA fighters. Preliminary data suggests that ACT could be a useful model for constructing behavioral interventions for people looking to improve their quality of life through values-based activities. Implications of methods and consequences of each intervention, along with challenges for applications of ACT in nonclinical settings will also be discussed.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): ACT, mindfulness intervention, values
Making College Life Matter: Acceptance and Commitment Training to Improve Values-Consistent Action in College Students
MEAGAN PERKINS (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Lisa Harrison (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Solomon Kurz (University of Mississippi), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Students report all sorts of reasons for attending college. Those who are most successful, however, tend to engage college life in ways that are intrinsically reinforcing (i.e., personally meaningful). Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) offers students an approach to engaging their lives in personally meaningful ways independent of aversive private events. The current series of studies examined the effectiveness of an ACT-based course in increasing the values-consistent actions of college students. Psychology of Adjustment is an experiential course in which students apply ACT through in and out of class activities including: meditations, small group discussions, video lectures, and online forums for weekly commitment and reflection. Students self-reported values-consistent behaviors daily throughout the course. Data from two semesters and over 150 students indicate increases in values-consistent action over the course of the semester. Several specific patterns of responses will be examined. Implications of findings for facilitating college student adjustment within this context will be discussed, along with broad implications for behavior change under aversive and appetitive control.
Psychological Flexibility Training for Improving the Performance of Mixed Martial Artists
GARRET M CANTU (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Emily Kennison Sandoz (University of Louisiana at Lafayette), Ryan Albarado (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
Abstract: Psychological flexibility training (i.e., Acceptance and Commitment Training) has been increasingly and effectively applied to improve awareness and improve behavioral flexibility to enhance functioning in a number of different domains. Applied to athletic performance, athletes with training in psychological flexibility perform better than those without, even in the face of fatigue, self-doubt, or anxiety. The Mindfulness, Acceptance and Commitment (MAC) Seminar, based on empirically-supported techniques for increasing psychological flexibility and effectiveness of behavior, aims to train the psychological skills of openness toward and effectiveness during a range of emotional states. A series of studies have demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of the MAC Seminar with amateur athletes. The current study examined the effectiveness of MAC training with mixed martial artists. Mixed martial artists must be able to analyze and respond effectively to a rapidly changing and dangerous environment – skills that require psychological flexibility. This study suggests that MAC training is not only a feasible adjunct to mixed martial arts training, but also an effective one at improving performance according to idiographic goals.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh