Avoidance Assessment and Treatment Strategies Article Review

Pages: 5 (1405 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Health  ·  Written: August 5, 2019


  • The authors report that the rationale for the specific experimental manipulations used in the instant study was identical to that used in support of the first study by focusing on strategies that can be used to minimize aggressive behaviors and replace them with socially acceptable responses to social interactions.
  • To their credit, Harper et al. (2013) provide an exhaustive description of the baseline and control conditions that were used in their study as well as noting that the generalized effects of the interventions that were used were evaluated on an ongoing basis as the research progressed. In this regard, Harper et al. (2013) report that, “A multiple baseline design across subjects was used to evaluate the effects of the treatment. . . . Their generalized effects were examined during baseline probes, which continued throughout treatment” (p. 153). In addition, the baseline for the instant study was identical to the social demand condition of the functional analysis with the single exceptions that therapists provided the subjects with verbal praise and a small edible item when they engaged in appropriate social interactions. Further, the authors also used baseline probes during every third session to evaluate the generalized effects of the intervention on social interactions and problem behaviors.
  • 5. Experimental Design

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    • A functional analysis was the specific experimental design that was used by Harpet et al. (2013). According to the authors, this experimental design was selected for this study because it “provides an empirical basis for examining the influence of a wide range of variables on problem behavior” (Harper et al., 2013, p. 147). The functional analytical approach applied by Harper et al. (2013) was based on four procedures (cited in order of use): ignore, attention, play, and demand conditions.
    6. Results

      TOPIC: Article Review on Avoidance Assessment and Treatment Strategies Assignment

    • The results of the instant study showed that differential reinforcement was an effective intervention for decreasing aggression and increasing appropriate social interactions among all of the subjects. Besides differential reinforcement, the authors note that two other elements may have influenced the subjects’ behavior during the pendency of their study as follows:
    • Because training sessions contained explicit prompts for subjects to initiate interaction, it is possible that prompts per se may have contributed to the treatment effect; and,
    • Another possibility is that pairing edible reinforcement with a social response made by the subject (rather than one made by the therapist during conditioning sessions) was a more effective way of decreasing the aversive characteristics of social interaction (Harper et al., 2013, p. 158).
    • The authors present their results in narrative form as well as through the use of a graph to depict the subjects’ responses per minute or percentage of intervals of aggression and appropriate social interactions as shown in Figure 1 below.
    Figure 1. Responses per minute (Ann and Will) or percentage of intervals (Eve) of aggression and appropriate social interaction during baseline sessions and during baseline probes following every third training session across treatment conditions. Extinction of aggression was added during baseline probes conducted with Ann beginning with Session 31 (marked above with an asterisk). VIC Sr+ = vicarious reinforcement; STIM COND = stimulus conditioning.

    Source: Harper et al., 2013, p. 157

    In addition, the authors also present a second graphic depiction of the responses per minute or percentage of intervals by each of the study’s subjects during the initial as well as the modified functional analysis.


    The world can be a very scary place for even the healthiest people, and it is not surprising that many individuals, especially those suffering from intellectual disabilities, seek to avoid normal social interactions and may respond in inappropriate ways such as aggressive behaviors when they are forced to do so. The results of the study by Harper, Iwata and Camp (2013) showed that there are efficacious interventions available that can help minimize inappropriate behaviors while increasing the frequency of appropriate social interactions. Given that it is axiomatic that “practice makes perfect,” it is reasonable to conclude that individuals who suffer from conditions that discourage or otherwise inhibit or limit their normal social interactions can benefit from the sustained application of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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