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 #377
CE Offered: BACB
Innovations in Assessments to Identify Stimuli as Potential Negative Reinforcers
Monday, May 29, 2017
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Convention Center Mile High Ballroom 1A/B
Area: DDA/AUT; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Sarah J. Miller (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University School of Medicine)
CE Instructor: Sarah J. Miller, Ph.D.
Abstract: Negative reinforcement is a common function of problem behavior, and there has been a recent increase in the literature on assessments to identify stimuli that may serve as negative reinforcers, similar to that of positive reinforcers. The current symposium presents three studies advancing this line of research. The first study compares two demand assessments currently in the literature for their efficiency and match between results within participants. The second study utilizes a caregiver-completed questionnaire to identify stimuli for use in escape sessions and compared the results of their questionnaire to a later functional analysis. The third study evaluated a choice-based, concurrent-operants demand assessment that did not require the occurrence of problem behavior and compared the results of that assessment using a progressive-ratio analysis. All of these studies utilized children with severe problem behavior as participants, although the third study also included children without problem behavior. Altogether, this work represents an advance in research on assessments that can be used to inform functional analysis and treatment procedures. The combined works provide comparisons across various methodologies, allowing clinicians to identify the method that yields the most informative results in a given context.
Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): demand assessments, escape-maintained, indirect assessment, negative reinforcement
A Comparison of Demand Assessments
STEPHANIE LIOLLIO (Georgia State University; Marcus Autism Center; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta), Mindy Christine Scheithauer (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center; Emory University)
Abstract: Various demand assessments have been proposed in the literature as methods of determining the relative aversiveness of demands (Call et al, 2009; Roscoe et al, 2009). However, little to no research has compared these different demand assessment methodologies. The purpose of the study was to compare two different demand assessment procedures (rate-based and latency-based) found in the literature with three children diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Measures of demand aversiveness and assessment efficiency (i.e., total time and instances of problem behavior observed) were compared across the two measures. Results suggest that the two assessments have moderate correspondence, with differential agreement across participants. When the assessments agree, the latency-based measure was most efficient for a participant with high-rates of problem behavior while the rate-based was more efficient for a participant with low-rates of problem behavior. Results are discussed in the context of recommendations for clinicians and future research.

A Comparison of an Indirect Assessment and FA Outcome of Escape-Maintained Problem Behavior

CHRISTOPHER M. FURLOW (The University of Southern Mississippi), Jennifer R. Zarcone (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Bailey Scherbak (Monarch House), Jonathan Dean Schmidt (Kennedy Krieger Institute), Griffin Rooker (Kennedy Krieger Institute)

Positive reinforcers such as social attention and tangible items are often included in preference and reinforcer assessments to identify effective reinforcers to be used in the treatment of problem behavior. It is also important for clinicians to evaluate the role of negative reinforcers during the assessment process, particularly for individuals with escape-maintained problem behavior. This study summarizes data collected from an indirect assessment about potential negative reinforcers, known as the Questionnaire of nonpreferred Events, Stimuli, and Tasks (QUEST), from twenty-five caregivers of children with severe problem behavior. The results of the assessment were then compared with the outcome of the childs functional analyses. Results indicated that 60% of the time, parents either identified items/events that consistently evoked problem behavior during an escape condition or reported demands were not a concern which was later confirmed during the childs functional analysis. Furthermore, 42.86 % of parents provided information idiosyncratic to their child that informed clinicians on how to design conditions for separate analyses which most reliably evoked problem behavior, such as specific Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), medical procedures, or receiving corrective feedback. The QUEST may be most beneficial to clinicians in identifying these idiosyncrasies prior to beginning the initial functional analysis.

Evaluation of a Choice-Based Demand Assessment
SARAH J. MILLER (Marcus Autism Center / Emory University School of Medicine), Nathan Call (Marcus Autism Center), Sarah Wymer (Marcus Autism Center; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta), Bianca Mack (Marcus Autism Center), Shannon Kennedy Hewett (Marcus Autism Center), Chinedu Okoh (Marcus Autism Center; Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta)
Abstract: Demand assessments evaluate the aversiveness of demands, and procedures in the literature heavily weight the occurrence of problem behavior. However, not all individuals in need of treatment engage in active problem behavior. The current study evaluated a choice-based, concurrent operants demand assessment (CODA) that did not include problem behavior in its measurement. However, it was not clear if participants would make a choice when presented with two demands. Experiment 1 evaluated the feasibility of CODA with 10 individuals with developmental disabilities who engaged in severe problem behavior. Results indicated that participants will choose, yielding a hierarchy of preference across demands. Experiment 2 evaluated CODA results by comparing the highest- and lowest-preferred demands using a progressive ratio schedule of reinforcement with four participants with developmental delays whose caregivers reported passive non-compliance but not active problem behavior. Results indicate that, for three of four participants, the high-preferred demand maintained more responding. This procedure extends the literature by providing a demand assessment that does not require the occurrence of problem behavior. Implications for future research and clinical applications are discussed.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh