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Single-case Analysis of the Effects of Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement on Problem Behavior, Requests for Breaks, and Work Choices. Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA Presentation for Institute of Education Sciences June, 2008. General Information. Institute of Education Sciences

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Single-case Analysis of the Effects of Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement on Problem Behavior, Requests for Breaks, and Work Choices

Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA

Presentation for Institute of Education Sciences

June, 2008

general information
General Information
  • Institute of Education Sciences
    • Serious Behavior Disorders Competition
    • Goal 2: Develop a new intervention
  • Award #R324B060013
  • $ 515,384 over 3 years
    • August, 2006 - July, 2009
a big thank you to my research staff
A Big Thank You to MyResearch Staff
  • Project Coordinator
    • Jessica Frieder, M.A., BCBA
  • Graduate Research Assistants
    • Shawn Quigley
    • Shilo Smith
    • Carrie Brower-Breitweiser, M.A.
  • Volunteers
    • Pete Molino, M.A., BCBA
    • Heath Ivers
    • Stuart Mullins
    • Sally Huskinson
functions of problem behavior
Functions of Problem Behavior
  • Socially-mediated Functions
    • Gain (positive reinforcement: get attention, tangibles)
    • Escape (negative reinforcement: get out of difficult tasks, nonpreferred activities)
  • Non-socially-mediated Functions
    • Gain (positive automatic reinforcement: get sensory stimulation)
    • Escape (negative automatic reinforcement: get out of sensory stimulation)
escape motivated problem behavior
Escape-motivated Problem Behavior
  • Most common motivation for problem behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities (Derby et al., 1992; Iwata et al., 1994)
potential treatments for escape motivated problem behavior
Potential Treatments for Escape-motivated Problem Behavior
  • Eliminate task demands altogether
    • Most obvious and direct treatment (Smith & Iwata, 1997)
    • Limits skill development
  • Functional communication training (FCT)
    • Teaches a new skill (communication) and effectively reduces problem behavior (Carr & Durand, 1985; Derby et al., 1997; Durand & Carr, 1991; Marcus & Vollmer, 1995)
    • Often results in escaping tasks altogether (Marcus & Vollmer, 1995)
potential treatments for escape motivated problem behavior7
Potential Treatments for Escape-motivated Problem Behavior
  • Englemann & Colvin (1985)
    • Responding to instructional requests is critical foundational-level skill for completing higher-level instructional tasks
  • Interventions are needed that teach individuals to complete instructional tasks rather than eliminating task demands
potential treatments for escape motivated problem behavior8
Potential Treatments for Escape-motivated Problem Behavior
  • Stimulus Fading/DRA
    • Initially decrease task demands and slowly increase them over time
    • Reinforcement (task breaks) provided for task completion
    • Extinction (withholding breaks) for problem behavior
  • Can be effective in decreasing problem behavior and increasing task compliance
  • Bursts of problem behavior often occur as task demands increase (Lalli, Casey, & Kates, 1995; Zarcone et al., 1994)
a new intervention is needed
A New Intervention is Needed
  • Intervention that capitalizes on the strengths of
    • FCT: rapid and reliable decreases in problem behavior
    • Stimulus fading: encourages task completion
  • Intervention that ameliorates the negative effects of
    • FCT: allows continuous escape
    • Stimulus fading: requires the use of extinction due to extinction bursts
a new intervention is needed10
A New Intervention is Needed
  • Combine FCT and Stimulus Fading while simultaneously eliminating Extinction
    • First, teach communicative response
    • Reduce task demands
    • Slowly increase task demands while also allowing break requests
    • Problem behavior continues to produce reinforcement (task breaks)
  • This creates a three-choice context: Task compliance, break request, problem behavior
choice context
Choice Context

Prompt to complete a difficult task

Complete Task

Mand

Problem Behavior

All produce reinforcement = break

How can we bias responding in favor of task completion?

How can we bias responding in favor of mands?

How can we bias responding away from problem behavior?

factors that influence choices
Factors That Influence Choices
  • Schedule of reinforcement
  • Delay to reinforcement
  • Effort to obtain reinforcement
  • Quality of reinforcement
research on choice making
Research on Choice Making
  • Research on competing schedules of reinforcement as treatment for problem behavior
    • Peck et al. (1996)
      • Higher quality reinforcement for communication responses effectively competed with lower quality reinforcement for problem behavior
    • Extensions by Piazza et al. (1997) and Harding et al. (1999)
    • Supports the use of choice making as part of treatment for escape-motivated problem behavior
research on choice making14
Research on Choice Making
  • Most, if not all, research on competing schedules of reinforcement involves choices between two responses:
    • Two sets of math problems (Mace et al. 1994; Neef et al., 1992; Neef et al., 1994)
    • Communication responses vs. problem behavior (Horner & Day, 1991; Peck et al., 1996)
    • Work completion vs. problem behavior (Hoch et al., 2002; Lalli et al., 1999)
research question 1
Research Question #1
  • When compliance to task requests, mands, and problem behavior are concurrently available response alternatives, will providing different reinforcement qualities for each response alternative bias responding in favor of the adaptive response alternatives?
research question 2
Research Question #2
  • Given that various dimensions of reinforcement can be arranged to increase adaptive responding (e.g., task compliance, mands) over problem behavior, are there differential effects of stimulus fading when only 2 response options receive reinforcement (i.e., compliance and problem behavior) versus when 3 response options receive reinforcement (i.e., compliance, mands, and problem behavior)?
research sites participants
Research Sites/Participants
  • Research Sites
    • Three school districts in Idaho
    • One rural, high Hispanic population
    • Two “urban”
  • Participants
    • 12-18 participants per year across the three research sites
    • K-6 grades; 6-12 years of age
    • Disabilities and chronic and significant problem behavior
dependent variables and measurement
Dependent Variables and Measurement
  • Choices (Event recording)
    • First behavior that occurs after a choice opportunity (i.e., “Time to work. What do you want to do?”)
    • Touch work or break card
    • Engage in problem behavior
  • Session Problem behavior (10-s interval)
    • Defined individually for each participant
      • Aggression
      • Noncompliance
      • Destruction
      • Self-injurious behavior
  • Task engagement (10-s interval)
    • Looking at, manipulating task materials
    • Looking at experimenter while giving instructions
case example damon
Case Example: Damon
  • 8 years old
  • Diagnosed with mental disability
  • Limited verbal abilities
  • Problem behaviors: leaving the task area, verbal refusals to complete work, destruction of materials (e.g., ripping paper, throwing pencils), aggression (e.g., hitting)
preliminary assessments
Preliminary Assessments
  • Functional Behavior Analysis
    • Interview
    • Observations of classroom routine
    • Experimental functional analysis
    • Escape must be at least one function of problem behavior
preliminary assessments22
Preliminary Assessments
  • Functional Communication Training
    • Teach participants to touch a card to request a break
    • Participants must demonstrate 100% independence with break card touching and less than 10% problem behavior
choice analysis
Choice Analysis
  • Research Question #1
  • When compliance to task requests, mands, and problem behavior are concurrently available response alternatives, will providing different reinforcement qualities for each response alternative bias responding in favor of the adaptive response alternatives?
choice analysis25
Choice Analysis

Prompt to complete a difficult task

Complete Task

Mand

Problem Behavior

Highest Quality/Duration (1 min) Break

Medium Quality/Duration (30 s) Break

Lowest Quality/Duration (10 s) Break

Highest Probability

Moderate Probability

Lowest Probability

stimulus fading analysis
Stimulus Fading Analysis
  • Research Question 2
  • Given that various dimensions of reinforcement can be arranged to increase adaptive responding (e.g., task compliance, mands) over problem behavior, are there differential effects of stimulus fading when only 2 response options receive reinforcement (i.e., compliance and problem behavior) versus when 3 response options receive reinforcement (i.e., compliance, mands, and problem behavior)?
stimulus fading 2 choice
Stimulus Fading 2-Choice

Prompt to complete a difficult task

Complete Increasingly Difficult Task

Problem Behavior

Highest Quality/Duration (1 min) Break

Lowest Quality/Duration (10 s) Break

Highest Probability?

Lowest Probability?

stimulus fading analysis32
Stimulus Fading Analysis

Prompt to complete a difficult task

Complete Increasingly Difficult Task

Problem Behavior

Mand

Highest Quality/Duration (1 min) Break

Medium Quality/Duration (30 s) Break

Lowest Quality/Duration (10 s) Break

Highest Probability?

Moderate Probability?

Lowest Probability?

summary question 1
Summary Question #1
  • Participant’s choices are sensitive to varying qualities of reinforcement in context of three choices
    • Work
    • Break
    • Problem behavior
  • When they don’t have to actually complete work
summary question 2
Summary Question #2
  • As task requirements increase, choices shift
    • More break choices
    • More problem behavior choices, but not many
    • Results are inconsistent
  • Gives rise to new questions
    • Do we need to increase reinforcement for work choice as task requirements increase?
    • Does everyone need 3-choice
    • How can we predict who needs the 3-choice intervention?
    • Sequence effects?
contact information
Contact Information
  • For more information, contact
    • Stephanie M. Peterson, Ph.D., BCBA
    • Peteste4@isu.edu
    • 208-282-3552
  • Thank you for your attention!