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open access

Evaluation of a Behavior Skills Package to Teach Caregivers to Manage Disruptive Behavior during Medical and Dental Appointments

Description: Adults with developmental disabilities that live in large residential settings experience complications due to problem behavior when attending routine medical/dental appointments. This may result in sedation for clients for even the most routine medical/dental appointments. The purpose of this project was to develop a comprehensive staff training program that incorporated best practices to teach direct-support professionals behavior management techniques and best practices for transporting clients to and from routine medical/dental appointments. 4 direct-support professionals at a large residential care facility participated in this project. Multiple probes were conducted utilizing standard role-play exercises to evaluate caregiver acquisition of 16 specific skills related to client information, best practices for client transport, and behavior management. The results indicated that behavior skills training (BST) resulted in caregiver acquisition of all 16 skills during role-play exercises.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Kinser, Joshua Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Ex-Offender Reentry: An Analysis of Current Policies and Programs

Description: Recidivism rates among ex-offender populations have consistently remained high. With over 600,000 ex-offenders being released from prison each year, reducing the rate of recidivism among the ex-offender class has become a highly debated issue. Ensuring ex-offenders successfully reintegrate into the community post-incarceration may help to reduce recidivism rates. Through a qualitative thematic analysis, this study examined various policies and program that may impact recidivism rates among ex-offenders. The policies and programs reviewed in this study were categorized among six main themes which were identified in prior literature as the most crucial elements needed for successful reintegration. The findings indicate that while many policy changes have been made to positively impact ex-offender reintegration by allowing initial access to services post-release from prison, more should be done to ensure ex-offenders actually receive needed services.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Laird, Kaleigh B.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

When to Say It: Establishing a Verbal Cue

Description: Dog trainers sometimes teach verbal cues by saying the cue as the dog is performing the desired behavior. However, there is disagreement about when to say the cue. In this study, a pet dog was trained to go to three different apparatus, the cue for each of which was given at a different time, in a multi-element design. The cue "hoop" was given just as the dog began to move to the hoop apparatus. The cue "carrier" was given as the dog was stepping into the carrier apparatus. The cue "platform" was given after the dog was sitting on the platform apparatus. To test if the dog had learned the cues, the trainer had the dog sit and gave the cue. During testing, if only the correct apparatus was present, the dog responded to all three cues. However, when all three apparatus were present, the dog only responded correctly to the "hoop" cue. This suggests that giving the cue just as the learner is beginning to perform the desired behavior is the most effective teaching method.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Rulla, Emily
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Musical Priming and Operant Selection

Description: Language is a cultural construct, and the relationship between words is taught. Priming research has long investigated the relationship between related and unrelated words. Similar research has been seen in music relationships, but most of these investigate harmonic relations despite the melodic relationship being the one listeners are mostly likely to describe. Further, these studies typically measure existing relationships and do not attempt to teach a new relationship, nothing that most adults are experienced musical listeners. This study seeks to establish a new melodic relationship (the enigmatic Scale) in addition to a familiar one (the major Scale) while measuring response time to the musical sequences. A baseline was conducted in which participants listened to a musical sequence and selected via response box if the final note is consonant (major Scale) or dissonant (enigmatic Scale). Following baseline a training section occurred in which participants heard sequences ranging from 2-7 notes and were provided feedback for correct and incorrect responses. Following completion of the training participants completed a post-test identical to baseline. Behavioral results are discussed in relation to Palmer's (2009) concept of the repertoire.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Vail, Kimberly Gail
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Teaching Observational Learning to Children with Autism: An In-vivo and Video-Model Assessment

Description: Observational learning (OL) occurs when an individual contacts reinforcement as a direct result of discriminating the observed consequences of other individuals' responses. Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have deficits in observational learning and previous research has demonstrated that teaching a series of prerequisite skills (i.e., attending, imitation, delayed imitation, and consequence discrimination) can result in observational learning. We sequentially taught these prerequisite skills for three young children with ASD across three play-based tasks. We assessed the direct and indirect effects of training by assessing OL before and after instruction across tasks and task variations (for two participants) during both in-vivo and video-model probes using a concurrent multiple-probe design. All participants acquired the prerequisite skills and demonstrated observational learning during probes of directly-trained tasks. Generalization results varied across participants. Observational learning generalized to one untrained task for one participant. For the other two participants, observational learning generalized to variations of the trained tasks but not to untrained tasks. Generalization additionally occurred during the in-vivo probes for both participants for whom we assessed this response. Implications of these findings, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Sansing, Elizabeth M
Partner: UNT Libraries

Employee Satisfaction with Supervisor Support: The Case of Direct Care Workers in Nursing Homes

Description: The nursing home industry has been saturated for decades with culture change initiatives in an effort to improve resident quality of care. The direct care worker (DCW) is considered a critical position to achieving nursing facility quality improvements. Understanding what leads to job satisfaction for DCWs could result in improved resident care. The relationship DCWs have with their direct supervisor or upper-level manager can impact employee satisfaction. The purpose of this research is to identify factors that are associated with DCWs satisfaction with supervisor and management support. Data was obtained from 307 DCWs who were employed at 11 North Texas nursing homes. It was expected that factors affecting satisfaction with direct supervision and upper-level management would differ. In fact, the study found that the antecedents for employee satisfaction with supervisor support were participative decision-making/empowerment, age, information exchange and feedback. Furthermore, participative decision-making/empowerment, perceived competence, staffing, information exchange and feedback were found to affect direct care workers' satisfaction with manager support. In conclusion, this research provides a starting point towards a more holistic view of employee satisfaction with supervisor support by considering the preceding factors and its subsequent effects.
Access: Restricted to UNT Community Members. Login required if off-campus.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Whitaker, Lisa
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Untangled: The Effects Family Structure Has on Juvenile Delinquency

Description: Juvenile delinquency is an issue in today's society for various reasons. This issue can result due to different motives, but family dynamics is one of the most vital factors. The current study extends prior research done in regards to the family factors that affect juvenile delinquency and what policies and programs are available to eliminate these factors. The seven family dynamics that are studied are socioeconomic status, divorce, cohabiting, family transitions, parental incarceration, parental control, as well as parental substance abuse. A subsample of policies and programs are assigned to each factor and researched of whether or not they are effective. Majority of the programs were effective and were found to minimize antisocial behaviors among adolescents. The programs that were not evaluated were still found to have a positive impact on juveniles' behaviors due to the outcomes of the policies. Investing in these programs and policies are beneficial for juveniles and the impact that family dynamics play on delinquency.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Murray, Taylor Danielle
Partner: UNT Libraries

Effects of Disasters on Local Climate Actions: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Actions

Description: This dissertation investigates the effects of natural disasters and political institutions on municipalities' climate change policies. Although most theoretical frameworks on policy adoption highlight the roles of extreme events as exogenous factors influencing policy change, most studies tend to focus on the effects of extreme events on policy change at the national level. Additionally, the existing theoretical frameworks explaining local policy adoption and public service provision do not pay attention to the roles of extreme events in local governments' policy choices. To fill those gaps, this dissertation explores the roles of natural disasters and political institutions on municipal governments' climate change policies. It does this by applying the theory of focusing events to local climate mitigation and adaptation actions. Based on the policy change framework, the political market model, and the institutional collective action frameworks, this dissertation develops and tests hypotheses to examine the effects of natural disasters and political institutions on municipalities' climate mitigation and adaptation policies. The dissertation uses 2010 National League of Cities (NLC) sustainability surveys and the 2010 International City/County Management Association (ICMA) sustainability survey to test the hypotheses. Analytical results show that floods and droughts influence local climate change policies and suggest that local governments can take advantage of extreme events when initiating a policy change. The results also suggest that political institutions can shape the effects of natural disasters on municipalities' climate mitigation and adaptation actions.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Kim, Kyungwoo
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Using Concurrent Schedules of Reinforcement to Decrease Behavior

Description: We manipulated delay and magnitude of reinforcers in two concurrent schedules of reinforcement to decrease a prevalent behavior while increasing another behavior already in the participant's repertoire. The first experiment manipulated delay, implementing a five second delay between the behavior and delivery of reinforcement for a behavior targeted for decrease while no delay was implemented after the behavior targeted for increase. The second experiment manipulated magnitude, providing one piece of food for the behavior targeted for decrease while two pieces of food were provided for the behavior targeted for increase. The experiments used an ABAB reversal design. Results suggest that behavior can be decreased without the use of extinction when contingencies favor the desirable behavior.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Palmer, Ashlyn
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Further Evaluation of Individual and Synthesized Contingencies within Functional Analysis Methods

Description: A functional analysis (FA) is the most commonly used assessment methodology for identifying maintaining variables influencing problem behavior. However, if an FA does not produce clear differentiation, researchers and practitioners often then modify procedures to include additional individualized variables. The interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) provides a marked departure from FA methodology and aims to include individualized factors at the initiation of the assessment in order to more rapidly produce differentiation and clear results. We sought to further evaluate and compare the outcomes of two different functional analysis methods: the single-contingency functional analysis (FA) and the interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) to determine the function of problem behavior and evaluate the subsequent function-based treatment determined from the functional analysis results with two children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Both participants engaged in problem behavior maintained by single-contingencies of reinforcement identified within the single-contingency FA and emphasized by the effectiveness of each single-contingency function-based treatment.
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Date: May 2019
Creator: Hendryx, Maggie
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Looking for Quantitative and Qualitative Measures of Teaching Interactions: A Preliminary Analysis

Description: Indicators of quality early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) include comprehensive interventions, adequately trained staff, high rates of effective instruction delivery, happy interactions between children and their teachers, and socially valid outcomes. When these are in place, high quality EIBI is more likely to increase progress that children with autism make during treatment. When not in place, progress is not as likely, as rapid, or as meaningful. To date, there is limited research regarding the correlation between these indicators of high-quality EIBI and the degree to which their effects are meaningful to direct consumers. The purpose of this methodological study was to compare direct, quantitative measures of teaching interactions (child initiations, teacher initiations, child affect, teacher affect) with qualitative measures (stakeholder ratings of teacher effectiveness, amount of opportunities for interaction and interest in the child) of teaching interactions to determine what sets the occasion for expert stakeholders to describe a teaching interaction as effective, quality therapy.
Date: May 2019
Creator: Weir, Jade R
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Victim-Offender Overlap in Intimate Partner Violence: Considering the Role of Self-Control

Description: While a growing body of literature in the field of criminal justice documents the relationship between victimization and offending, only recently has this knowledge been applied to the study of intimate partner violence (IPV). Accordingly, questions remain with regard to the theoretical origins of mutual violence between intimates. In an effort to fill this void in the literature, the current study examines the etiology of moderate forms of mutual IPV, specifically assessing self-control theory's applicability to the victim-offender overlap in IPV. Data were obtained from Waves I and IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) to investigate whether low self-control at Wave I predicts IPV victimization, IPV offending, or both IPV victimization and offending at Wave IV. The present study extends prior literature examining the role of self-control in IPV by (1) investigating the influence of self-control on the victim-offender overlap in IPV, (2) using longitudinal data, and (3) utilizing a sample of U.S. adults ages 24 to 33. While low self-control was found to significantly predict IPV offending and the overlap in IPV victimization and offending, low self-control failed to significantly predict IPV victimization. Policy implications, study limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.
Date: May 2019
Creator: Spivey, Emily
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Decision-Making Model for Safe and Effective Use of Functional Analysis Procedures

Description: While functional analysis provides the standard methodology for the assessment of problem behavior, procedures still pose potential risk when assessing severe problem behavior. Previous studies have examined several strategies to improve the efficiency of and reduce risks related to the functional analysis process. The purpose of the present series of studies was to replicate and extend previous research on the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior for one participant diagnosed with an intellectual disability. By incorporating strategies within a systematic decision-making framework, functional analysis procedures were implemented to conduct the assessment of precursors, determine maintaining contingencies for severe problem behavior, and evaluate the effects of a treatment based on the results of a functional analysis.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Vega, Gabrielle M.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Development and Validation of Measures of Generalization of a Behavior Management Package

Description: In order for the benefits of a behavior management skills training program to reach clients, caregivers must use the behavior management skills in the natural environment. The current study took place at a large residential facility for adults with disabilities, in which caregivers had received prior training in which they demonstrated behavior management skills and maintained those skills in contrived role plays. The current study represents a preliminary analysis of generalization of these skills in the natural environment; thus, a measurement system for when caregivers should demonstrate the tools was developed. The specific purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a program to establish stimulus control over observers' measurement of appropriate behaviors. Researchers systematically developed and validated a measurement system of "good behaviors" that could be used across clients. The process of development and refinement of the measurement system is described. When the system was finalized, three observers' accuracy in using the system was assessed by comparing measured values to that of the code writer. Following feedback on individual instances of behavior, all observers scored the three target behaviors accurately. Ecological validity was assessed by surveying professionals at the facility and ecological validity results suggested a valid measurement system was developed.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Speckin, Lauren Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Conjugate Arrangement for Measuring Commercial Viewing

Description: Commercial viewing was measured by a conjugate arrangement for 1 female and 3 male participants. Reinforcing qualities were evaluated according to screen variations and ratings. Subjects changed the screen clarity via knob pressing either making the screen more or less transparent, translucent or opaque based on commercial interest. Results were conducive to participant attentiveness or indifference to commercial viewing. Experimenter was able to identify the commercials that grasped and maintained the participants' viewing behavior. Conceptually this conjugate arrangement could enhance eye tracking technology to improve marketing and advertising strategies. This experiment yield results that suggest a more concrete analysis of consumer response to visual stimuli that maintains attending.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Morgan, Amber
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Preliminary Evaluation of an Indirect Assessment of Sensitivity to Aversive Stimulation

Description: Aversive tasks and activities are commonly encountered in the everyday routines of most individuals. For individuals with intellectual disabilities, a means to assess individual sensitivities to aversive stimulation could allow caregivers to avoid unnecessary contact with aversive events, teach appropriate ways to avoid or escape aversive situations, and condition tolerance to unavoidable aversive tasks and activities. The current study, conducted at a large, state-operated residential facility for adults with intellectual disabilities, used an anecdotal assessment, the Sensitivities to Aversive Stimulation Survey (SASS), to evaluate the relative aversiveness of an array of commonly encountered tasks and activities for each participant. Five caregivers complete the 25-question assessment, using Likert-type scales to rate individual participants' affect, compliance or tolerance, and severity of problem behavior related to each item. The mean scores of the raters were used to estimate the aversiveness of each task, condition, or activity. The outcomes from the SASS were then compared with outcomes of an experimental analysis in which participants could emit responses to escape situations that were ranked either high or low using the SASS. Relative aversiveness was evaluated by comparing the percentage of trials with escape behavior and duration of exposure for each stimulus. Preliminary results indicate that the SASS may be useful in identifying aversive tasks and stimuli.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Hope, Mariah L.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

An Engagement Bout Analysis of the Effects of Effort

Description: Operant response rate can be viewed as bouts, periods of alternating engagement and disengagement with ongoing schedules of reinforcement. Relatively few studies have examined the role of force and effort on engagement bouts. Moreover, those examining effort have used switch closure devices to define the response. Switch closures tend to overestimate the effect of effort because increasing the force requirement excludes low-force responses that previously activated the switch. In the present study, we examined the effects of effort using a force transducer, which allows us to record criterion responses that meet the force requirement and subcriterion responses that do not. The current study was conducted using four male Sprague Dawley rats. Each rat was run through a series of four conditions, each with a different combination of variable interval schedules (VI 30s, VI 120s) and force requirements (5.6g, 32g). Log survivor analyses of bout structure showed that increased force requirements decreased the rate of bout initiations. Additionally, when log-survivor functions were computed using only criterion responses, shifts in the function were less extreme than when all measured responses were used; the latter finding suggests exclusion of "subcriterion" responses in prior work has overestimated the effects of force on bout structure
Date: August 2017
Creator: Moore, Alyssa Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

Teaching Behavior Professionals to Use the Interview-Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA): A Preliminary Investigation

Description: We assessed the implementation accuracy and fidelity of two board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) using the open-ended interview from Hanley. Participants interviewed a confederate using the open-ended interview, and were then asked to use information gathered from the interview to create operational definitions of target behaviors as well as test and control condition procedures for a subsequent matched test-control functional analysis as is characteristic of the interview-informed synthesized contingency analysis (IISCA) strategy. Brief behavioral skills training (BST) was then implemented with all participants to increase the accuracy of constructing both target behavior definitions and functional analysis procedures. Preliminary results show moderate rates of accuracy of target behavior definitions and functional analysis procedures prior to BST, and high rates of accuracy following BST. The results also suggest high implementation fidelity on the open-ended interview may not be necessary to achieve high accuracy when constructing target behavior definitions and functional analysis procedures.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Metras, Rachel
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Increasing Problem Solving in a Special Education Class by Teaching Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS)

Description: Although there is extensive research demonstrating the benefits of teaching problem solving repertoires to typically developing individuals, there is little research on the effectiveness of these kinds of procedures with individuals with special needs. In this study, a group of special education students in a public school were taught problem solving skills using a curriculum called Talk Aloud Problem Solving (TAPS), which was developed by Robbins (2014). TAPS teaches students five problem solving skills and five active listening skills. This study utilized a multiple baseline design to examine whether training in TAPS would change the way that students solve problems and increase their accuracy when solving problems. In addition, a reversal design was used for each participant, consisting of the presence and the removal of the active listener during different stages of the study. After TAPS training and guided practice sessions, all students demonstrated new problem solving repertoires and their accuracy improved. For some students, having an audience (an active listener) was necessary to maintain their behavior. Further research is needed to determine how to teach students to be their own active listener.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Will, Sean
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Comparison of Observation Systems for Monitoring Engagement in an Intervention Program

Description: The measurement of engagement, or the interaction of a person with their environment, is an integral part of assessing the quality of an intervention program for young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Researchers and practitioners can and do measure engagement in many ways on the individual and group level. The purpose of this methodological study was to compare three commonly used recording systems: individual partial interval, group momentary time sampling, and group partial interval. These recording methods were compared across three classes of engagement: social, instructional, and non-instructional in a clinical setting with children with autism. Results indicate that group measurement systems were not sensitive to individual changes in engagement when child behaviors were variable. The results are discussed in the context of behavior analytic conceptual systems and the relative utility and future research directions for behavior analytic practice and research with young children in group settings.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Linden, April D.
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Fundamental Demographics of Digital Piracy Offenders

Description: Digital piracy is an emerging cybercrime subtype with overarching implications for administrators and researchers alike. Within this body of knowledge, it is unclear what individual-level factors are linked to digital piracy. Using a college-based sample, while focusing on gender, race, and age, this study identifies fundamental individual-level variables associated with digital piracy commission. After conducting multiple independent samples t-tests and a multivariate logistic regression, results found age and computer proficiency were significantly associated with the likelihood of engaging in digital piracy. These findings can help establish the foundational characteristics of digital pirates. By shifting the focus back to basic individual factors, universities can identify preventive efforts and researchers can better understand who engages in digital piracy.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Guerra, Chris
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

A Comparison of Fixed- and Variable-Ratio Token Exchange-Production Schedules with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Description: The token economy is a widely used and versatile motivational system within applied behavior analysis. Moreover, token reinforcement procedures have been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In the experimental analysis of behavior, token reinforcement contingencies are conceptualized as three interconnected schedule components: (1) the token-production schedule, (2) the exchange-production schedule, and (3) the token-exchange schedule. Basic work with nonhuman subjects has demonstrated that the exchange-production schedule is the primary driver of performance in these arrangements, and that variable-ratio exchange-production results in reduced pre-ratio pausing and greater overall rates of responding relative to fixed-ratio exchange-production schedules. However, little applied research has been conducted to assess the generality of these findings within applied settings. The purpose of this study was to determine if fixed- and variable-ratio token exchange-production schedules would exert differential effects on pre-ratio pausing and overall rates of responding for three children with ASD during a free-operant sorting task. The results showed that pre-ratio pausing and overall rates of responding were not differentially effected by the fixed- and variable-ratio exchange-production schedules. Discrepancies between the experimental work and the current study are discussed along with additional limitations.
Date: December 2018
Creator: McNeely, Mitchell P
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

Induced Water Drinking during a Discrete Trial Procedure Using a Variable-Ratio Schedule of Reinforcement with a Canine

Description: Falk's pivotal 1961 study showed that rats would drink excessive amounts of water when exposed to a time based schedule of reinforcement. Since then, schedule-induced drinking or polydipsia, has been demonstrated with several species and with a variety of different behaviors. Rats, the most commonly used animal, have been shown to drink excessive amounts of water under a variety of different time based schedules of reinforcement; exclusively during a free operant procedure. The current study shows that water drinking can be induced during a discrete trial procedure, and instead of using a time-based schedule of reinforcement, this study used a variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement. The results showed that excessive water drinking was induced under these conditions with a canine.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Frier, Tracy
Partner: UNT Libraries
open access

The Effects of an Instructional Package on the Emergence of Novel Intraverbals in Children with Autism

Description: We evaluated the effects of an instructional package on the emergence of novel intraverbals in children diagnosed with autism. Participants were two boys with a diagnosis of autism who had tact and listener repertoires for common objects and events, some intraverbal responses, and showed an ability to learn new intraverbal responses through direct instruction prior to participating in the study. Tact training, listener training, sorting training, and mixed training (listener and tact training) were conducted with each participant, with a probe to test for emergent intraverbals following each training step. If some emergence was seen during a probe following a training step, probes were conducted with the remaining sets to test for emergence in those sets as well. Multiple-exemplar training was conducted following the training steps if all targets within a set did not meet the criterion for emergence during probes. Results showed that for one participant, all four training steps, in addition to multiple-exemplar training, were needed to see emergence in all targets during probes for two sets, with the last two sets requiring only tact training before all targets had emerged during probes. The second participant required only tact training during three sets, with listener training required for one target in one set before all targets in all sets emerged during probes.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Macias, Heather A.
Partner: UNT Libraries
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