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.


46th Annual Convention; Washington DC; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #577
CE Offered: BACB
Behavioral Medicine SIG of ABAI Presents: Pain and Wellness Research in Behavioral Medicine
Monday, May 25, 2020
4:00 PM–4:50 PM
Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Level 1, Salon A
Area: CBM; Domain: Translational
Chair: Gretchen A. Dittrich (Simmons University)
Discussant: Kylan S. Turner (Simmons University)
CE Instructor: Kylan S. Turner, Ph.D.

Behavioral medicine is an area of research that integrates behavior analysis and biomedical sciences to change behaviors associated with health and disease states. Behavioral medicine targets may focus on disease prevention, treatment to improve health and disease states, programming to facilitate maintenance of health behavior change, and treatments targeting adherence to medical regimes. As experts in functional analysis and behavior change, behavior analysts are well-equipped to work in the area of behavioral medicine. However, only a small percentage of articles published in behavior analytic journals focus on behavioral medicine research. There is a need for behavior analysts to produce more research in the area of behavioral medicine. One of the goals of the Behavioral Medicine Special Interest Group of ABAI is to provide opportunities for students to disseminate research. The purpose of the current symposium is twofold. First, research in two different areas of behavioral medicine (i.e., increasing physical activity in sedentary adults and improving sitting posture in adults with reported low back pain) will be presented to demonstrate how doctoral students and other researchers may effectively contribute innovative applications of behavior analysis to the field to address behaviors related to pain and wellness. Secondly, a discussion will follow, which will specifically address how to begin doctoral work in behavioral medicine, and provide suggestions and guidelines for future or current students who are interested in working in the area of behavioral medicine.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Behavioral Medicine, Pain, Physical Activity, Posture
Target Audience:

BCBA BCBA-D licensed behavior analysts

Learning Objectives: 1. describe the effects of feedback schedules on health behavior 2. identify variables that affect treatment adherence in physical activity research 3. describe the effects of vibrotactile feedback on sitting posture

Effects of Behavioral Coaching on Exercise Behavior and Adherence

(Applied Research)
JESSICA R. MIAS (Simmons University), Gretchen A. Dittrich (Simmons University), Russell W. Maguire (Simmons University)

b. Optimal health outcomes are positively correlated with regular exercise, yet nearly one-quarter of adults in the United States reportedly do not participate in physical activity during their free time. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the effects of gradually faded behavioral coaching for increasing physical activity frequency and duration during the study and once the intervention ended. Participants were divided into two groups and matched according to age and body mass index. The Faded Coaching group received behavioral coaching sessions once per week for the duration of the intervention, and the other group participated in gradual fading of behavioral coaching over the course of the intervention. Results for Continuous Coaching group showed increased duration and frequency of physical activity from baseline to end of intervention. During maintenance for the Continuous Coaching group, frequency and duration of exercise decreased. Results from the Faded Coaching group showed participants increased duration and frequency of exercise while they experienced weekly coaching calls, with less of a decrease in duration and frequency of exercise when coaching sessions were faded. Interobserver agreement data were collected on weekly duration goals set during coaching sessions.

The Effects of Vibrotactile Feedback Schedules on the Acquisition and Maintenance of Proper Sitting Posture
(Applied Research)
BRIAN JADRO (Simmons University), Gretchen A. Dittrich (Simmons University), Ronald F. Allen (Simmons University)
Abstract: According to a National Centers for Health Statistics (2016) report, the most commonly reported pain is low back pain (LBP), with over 29% of Americans having reported experiencing this type of pain within the past three months. Despite such a large number of Americans reporting this type of pain, there are few behavior analytic studies aimed at decreasing potential pain causing variables such as poor posture. In the first experiment, aimed at measuring reliability, posture devices using accelerometers were shown to have an average reliability of 91.66%. The purpose of the current study is to examine the effectiveness of vibrotactile feedback fading procedure on the acquisition and maintenance of correct sitting posture. Initial and ongoing data for two participants, collected using the Upright Go 2 device, has shown an increase in correct sitting posture for two participants. Participant 1 showed an increase of 87.7% from baseline at the end of the 3s delay condition, and Participant 2 showed an increase of 39.1% from baseline to a 30s terminal delay probe. Additional data summarizing both a sequential and non-sequential feedback fading procedure is forthcoming.



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