Category: Education, Training, and Supervision - Graduate / Undergraduate/ Postdoctoral
As evidenced by the prevalence of behaviorally-based parent training methods (Lundahl, Risser, & Lovejoy, 2005), it can be argued that clinicians should be well-educated in behavioral principles (BP). In addition to having general knowledge of BP, there are certain skills clinicians can use to help generate hypotheses about the function of child problem behavior. Typically, functional behavior assessment involves identifying the antecedents preceding the problem behavior and the consequences following the problem behavior, and then using this data to form an educated hypothesis about the function of the problem behavior (Iwata, Kahng, Wallace, & Lindberg, 2000). Several descriptive analysis techniques exist, including direct observation techniques (e.g., antecedent-behavior-consequence [ABC]) recording techniques). Previous research suggests that a brief training is effective in teaching ABC analyses as well as differential reinforcement procedures (Noguchi, Kawano, and Yamanaka, 2013).
The purpose of this study was to increase participant ability to apply these BP to tasks, including identifying the antecedent, behavior, and consequence of a given situation, and identifying the function of the child’s behavior in a given scenario. Granpeesheh and colleagues (2010) trained behavioral therapists on the relationship between antecedents, behaviors, and consequences using an “eLearning” training on BP. Thus, it is hypothesized that clinicians will be able to identify the ABC of child behavior depicted in vignettes following completion of the online BP training.
A randomized control group, pretest-posttest design was used to examine the effects of a 1-hour, online BP training. Participants in this study were 102 undergraduate students (59.8% female) ranging in age from 17 to 36 (M = 19.71; SD = 2.85) enrolled at a southwestern university. Most participants identified as White (64.7%) Hispanic (22.5%), and African American (9.8%).
Participants completed a demographic survey and an ABC identification task at pre- and post-treatment in which they were presented five with vignettes illustrating externalizing child behaviors, and asked to identify the function of the child’s behavior, as well as the antecedent, behavior, and consequence presented in the situation. Preliminary data analyses (i.e., analysis of covariance) indicate that there was a statistically significant difference in post-treatment percent accuracy scores [F(1, 99) = 18.698, p < .0001] between the treatment and control groups when adjusting for pretreatment ABC percent accuracy scores, with participants in the treatment group scoring significantly higher than participants in the control group. Clinical and research implications will be discussed.