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; Online; 2020

Event Details

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Symposium #345
ABA to the Rescue: Enhancing Implementation of Psychosocial Interventions in Medical and Educational Settings
Monday, May 25, 2020
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Area: CBM/EDC; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Jeannie A. Golden (East Carolina University)
CE Instructor: Jeannie A. Golden, Ph.D.

Psychosocial interventions have much to offer youth in medical and educational settings. Administrators need to perceive costs of time and resources being outweighed by health benefits. Being specific and operationally defining terms can aid interdisciplinary understanding and cooperation. Reinforcement can help develop and maintain positive interactions. Feasibility may be enhanced by using a group format, a cost-effective and efficient way for youth to gain information, share common experiences, and learn from each other and from professionals. The benefits of a group format would not be realized unless a psychosocial intervention were accepted by the youth participating and implemented with fidelity. They must share their own experiences and respectfully listen as others share their experiences and be open to information about how they can improve their well-being. Positive reinforcement can make the experience more rewarding and strengthen specific behaviors such as sharing, listening and participating. Group cohesiveness can be increased by establishing and reinforcing clear expectations. Reinforcement can be helpful for motivating youth to participate in every aspect of the program (role playing, completing assignments). The presenters in this symposium will discuss ways in which the addition of behavior management strategies can enhance acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of psychosocial interventions.

Learning Objectives:

At the completion of this symposium, participants will be able to:

  1. State the ways in which behavior management strategies can enhance acceptability, feasibility and fidelity of psychosocial interventions.
  2. Describe how behavioral strategies were used to facilitate implementation of a stress-management intervention at a camp for youth with Type 1 diabetes.
  3. Describe how behavioral strategies were used to facilitate implementation of a mindfulness intervention in high school physical education classes.
  4. Describe how behavioral strategies were used to facilitate implementation of an ACT-based intervention in high school physical education classes.
Behavioral Strategies Facilitating Implementation of a Psychosocial Intervention in a Diabetes Camp
ANA LEPAGE (East Carolina University)
Abstract: Youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D) can experience significant disease-related stressors due to the intense treatment regimen and limitations that are associated with diabetes. Stress and coping interventions designed to address the unique difficulties faced by youth with T1D have proven to be efficacious and beneficial. Although a stress and coping intervention delivered in a group setting (e.g. summer camp) can provide a safe and comfortable place for peers to discuss and share similar experiences, the research is limited. The present study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of a brief, targeted, diabetes-specific stress and coping intervention. To facilitate program participation and minimize disruption, an interdependent group contingency plan was implemented, including setting brief, objectively-defined group rules and a token economy system. The sample included 83 campers, aged 8-17 (M=12.39), 82% White and 51% female, and 23 camp staff members. The intervention was implemented with 100% fidelity based on live observations by multiple raters. Qualitative and quantitative feedback on the utility and importance of the intervention were collected and the majority (i.e., 88% or greater) of the campers and camp staff found the intervention acceptable and stated that they would like for it to be offered next year.
Behavioral Strategies Facilitating Implementation of Mindfulness Interventions in High School Physical Education Classes
LEIGH CHANCEY (East Carolina University)
Abstract: Use of behavioral techniques can maximize student engagement with social and emotional learning (SEL) programs. However, they are often not included in program curriculums. During the first few weeks of implementation of a group-administered mindfulness-based SEL intervention with whole classrooms in a public high school, off topic comments and lack of participation disrupted program delivery. To facilitate program participation, beginning in the third week of the study, students were randomly assigned to sit in teams and teams were awarded points throughout the sessions for on task behavior and active participation. At the end of each session, each member from the team with the most points won for the day and was awarded a small prize. Fidelity ratings increased after addition of behavioral strategies yielding increased access to the program content for the students. Students and school staff also rated the program with the behavioral components as acceptable and likely to be implemented again the future. This study provides evidence that mindfulness interventions can be challenging to implement with adolescents in large groups in school settings and that applied behavioral techniques are essential in practical application of these programs in these circumstances.

Behavioral Strategies Facilitating Implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in High School Physical Education Classes

SAMUEL FAULKNER (Geisinger Bloomsburg Pediatrics)

Behavioral Strategies Facilitating Implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in High School Physical Education Classes Universal social and emotional learning curricula have demonstrated efficacy within a framework providing multi-tiered systems of support and represent promising methods for addressing youth mental health with a broad scope. Unfortunately, implementation of social emotional learning curricula presents multiple barriers to implementation and limited understanding of the processes of change, necessary procedures, relevant contextual variables, and differential impact of curricula on positive student functioning with high school students. Traditional models used to address mental health in adolescents often take a deficit-oriented approach. An emerging developmental model of behavior change incorporates principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Positive Psychology, Behaviorism, Relational Frame Theory, and Evolution Science to target functional classes of behavior and facilitate health-promoting behaviors in youth. Students (n = 118) were recruited from 6 Health/PE classes in a rural, underserved high school. Participants in the enhanced Health/PE condition received 6 weeks of a version of ACT as a universal preventive intervention targeting social and emotional learning skills, sleep hygiene, and physical activity. Behavior management strategies in the form of the Good Behavior Game were used to facilitate cooperation and participation of the high school students. The enhanced Health/PE curriculum was feasibly implemented with satisfaction from students and teachers.




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