Date of Degree

2-2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Psychology

Advisor

Joshua Jessel

Committee Members

Daniel Fienup

Emily Jones

Terry Falcomata

Mahshid Ghaemmaghami

Subject Categories

Applied Behavior Analysis

Keywords

complex FCR, functional communication training, FCT, resurgence, serial FCT

Abstract

Functional communication training (FCT) is a commonly used intervention for treating problem behavior wherein the reinforcers contributing to problem behavior are (a) identified through functional analysis and (b) then provided contingent on an alternative communication response. However, following successful teaching of an FCR, resurgence of problem behavior may occur in natural settings when the FCR is exposed to intentional or unintentional extinction conditions. We investigated teaching a second FCR following initial FCT, in one of two forms (varied topography or increased complexity) as a method for reducing resurgence of problem behavior. In order to account for history of reinforcement, we used a translational paradigm with a pre-existing analogue problem behavior (pre-existing mands). We found that FCT teaching multiple FCRs was more effective at mitigating resurgence of the analogue problem behavior when compared to single-response FCT for 3 out of 4 participants. FCT teaching multiple FCRs also produced greater variability of other, untaught mands during extinction conditions for 3 out of 4 participants. Caregivers scored both treatments highly and all caregivers indicated a preference for multiple FCT treatment. Clinicians may consider teaching multiple FCRs in FCT treatments in order to reduce resurgence of problem behavior and increase variability of untaught mands.

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