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Cutting Edge Empirically Supported Interventions. An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Self-Control of Individuals with Chronic Behavior Disorders through Computer Assisted Biofeedback. Dr. Ken Callis , Psychology Professor Dr. Nancy Aguinaga , Asst. Professor, College of Education

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An Interdisciplinary Approach to Understanding Self-Control of Individualswith Chronic Behavior Disorders through Computer Assisted Biofeedback

Dr. Ken Callis, Psychology Professor

Dr. Nancy Aguinaga, Asst. Professor, College of Education

Southeast Missouri State University

  • Our study, investigated computer-assisted biofeedback and relaxation techniques on behavior change of adolescents with chronic behavior disorders in a 32 bed facility
    • Breathing techniques
    • Visualization
    • Visual feedback
    • Opportunity for practice

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

  • Diagnoses
    • Bipolar disorder
    • Attention deficit disorder
    • Schizophrenia
    • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Behaviors
    • physical and verbal aggression
    • Impulsiveness
    • Withdrawal
    • Poor coping skills
    • Abnormal mood swings

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

research question
Research Question

Does computer-assisted biofeedback increase self-regulation of impulsive behaviors?

(Decreasing incidents of aggression which potentially lead to physical restraint and seclusion, and thereby lower the risk of injury to children and caregivers?

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

treatment objectives
Treatment objectives
  • Resident will be able to
    • understand the impact of stress on the body
    • learn to recognize stressful feelings and individual “triggers”
    • learn to use calming or relaxation strategies when faced with challenging situations

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

heartmath research
HeartMath Research
  • Different patterns of heart activity (which accompany different emotional states) have distinct effects on cognitive and emotional function
  • During stress and negative emotions, when the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered, the corresponding pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain inhibits higher cognitive functions.
  • Limited ability to think clearly, remember, learn, reason, and make effective decisions.
  • )

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

emwave pc
emWave PC

An easy-to-use software program with a heart rhythm monitor. The system is an innovative approach to stress relief based on learning to change the heart rhythm pattern and create physiological coherence.

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

data collection
Data collection
  • Pre/post resident “locus of control” (Nowicki & Strickland, 1973)
  • Pre/post resident survey
  • Pre/post staff survey and interviews
  • rate of physical aggression, restraint, seclusion, escort
  • rate of time-out, both refocus chosen by resident directed and staff directed
  • Rate of coping-skill requested*

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

results of pilot study
Results of Pilot Study
  • Staff were asked to rate each individual in the areas of; self-control skills, level of physical aggression, level of verbal aggression, mood stability skills, anger management skills, and social skills.
    • All participants improved in level of control for physical aggression
    • Three out four participants improved in level of control for verbal aggression
    • Two out of four 4 participants improved in all 6 measures.

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

improvement in individual behavior
Improvement in individual behavior
  • All four residents demonstrated increased self-awareness by virtue of a higher number of “refocus” events (self-selected removal from the group as opposed to staff intervention).
  • Specifically, all four increased self-awareness significantly during the intervention phase by 39%, 83%, 100% and 133%.
  • Three of the four sustained a higher level of self- awareness as shown by post-intervention compared to pre-intervention.

Aguinaga & Callis 2011

current study
Current Study
  • 17 Participants
  • 4 therapists
  • Collecting post intervention data now
  • Initial staff interviews
    • Resident generalized skill in family therapy sessions
    • Resident immediately went into heart breathing in stressful situation
    • Some were excited to continue, some were anxious to stop

Aguinaga & Callis 2011