Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Behavior modification


This article describes a 10-session cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) used in a randomized controlled trial with people with anxiety and mild-to-moderate dementia. The aim of the therapy is to reduce symptoms of anxiety by increasing a sense of safety and self-efficacy. The therapy is characterized by a person-centered approach to CBT, using individual tailoring to accommodate for cognitive deficits and other challenges. Three phases of therapy are described: (a) socialization to model (including overcoming barriers to participation), goal setting, and formulation; (b) application of cognitive and behavioral change techniques to address unhelpful autonomic reactions, “strategic” reactions, “rules for living,” and interpersonal aspects; and © consolidation and ending in the context of chronic, deteriorating illness. The approach prioritizes direct work with the person with dementia, with the involvement of a “supportive other” where available and when necessary. The protocol is designed for use by therapists with prior experience in CBT.

Concepts: Psychology, Clinical psychology, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Major depressive disorder, Psychotherapy, Cognitive therapy, Behaviour therapy


Girls often harm others' social standing by starting rumors about peers or by excluding others from peer group activities, which is called relational aggression. Although relational aggression is not a new phenomenon, there have been relatively few interventions designed to address this, especially for urban ethnic minority girls. The Friend to Friend (F2F) program, developed through an iterative participatory action research process, has proven to be effective in improving targeted relationally aggressive urban girls' social problem-solving knowledge and decreasing levels of relational aggression, with effects being maintained 1 year after treatment. In the current article, we examine the broader effects of the F2F program. Findings suggest that the indicated F2F program has broader effects such as increasing prosocial behaviors, decreasing relational and physical aggression, and improving teacher-student relationships among non-targeted boys. In addition, the program demonstrated some effects for non-targeted girls including an increase in prosocial behaviors and improved teacher-student relationships. Implications for examining the cost-effectiveness of indicated interventions such as F2F are discussed.

Concepts: Improve, Monotonic function, Sociology, Research, Aggression, Relational aggression, Minority group, Peer group


Concept maps have been used to help students with learning disabilities (LD) improve literacy skills and content learning, predominantly in secondary school. However, despite increased access to classroom technology, no previous studies have examined the efficacy of computer-based concept maps to improve learning from informational text for students with LD in elementary school. In this study, we used a concurrent delayed multiple probe design to evaluate the interactive use of computer-based concept maps on content acquisition with science and social studies texts for Hispanic students with LD in Grades 4 and 5. Findings from this study suggest that students improved content knowledge during intervention relative to a traditional instruction baseline condition. Learning outcomes and social validity information are considered to inform recommendations for future research and the feasibility of classroom implementation.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Education, Educational psychology, Learning, High school, Primary education, Mind map


Research suggests that moral disgust, shame, and guilt are present in posttraumatic psychopathology. However, it is unclear that these emotional states are responsive to empirically supported interventions for posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). This study explored the relations among moral disgust, shame, guilt, and PTSS, and examined comprehensive distancing (CD) as a novel intervention for these emotional states in undergraduates with elevated PTSS. Participants were randomly assigned to use a CD or a cognitive challenge task in response to personalized scripts of a traumatic event. Both interventions were associated with decreases in disgust, moral disgust, shame, and guilt. Contrary to predictions, there were no significant differences between the exercises in the reduction of negative emotions. In addition, PTSS severity was correlated with trauma-related guilt as well as state guilt and shame, but not trait or state measures of disgust or moral disgust. This proof of concept project sets the stage for further research examining CD as an alternative or adjunctive intervention for posttraumatic stress reactions with strong features of moral disgust, shame, and guilt.

Concepts: Psychology, Psychological trauma, Abnormal psychology, Posttraumatic stress disorder, Stress, Emotion, Morality, Emotions


Accumulating data indicate a common occurrence of tic exacerbations and periods of psychosocial stress. Patients with Tourette’s syndrome (TS) also exhibit aberrant markers of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation. Based on these findings, a functional relationship between stress and tic disorders has been suggested, but the underlying mechanism of how stress may affect tic pathology remains to be elucidated. We suggest that dopaminergic and noradrenergic neurotransmission as well as immunology play a crucial role in mediating this relationship. Two possibilities of causal direction might be assumed: (a) psychosocial stress might lead to an exacerbation of tics via activation of HPA axis and subsequent changes in neurotransmission or immunology and (b) TS-related abnormalities in neurotransmission or immunology result in a higher vulnerability of affected patients to respond to psychosocial stress with a strong activation of the HPA axis. It may also be the case that both assumptions hold true and interact with each other.


Research findings have suggested that reading deficits and problem behaviors are positively related. This synthesis investigated how reading interventions impact behavioral/social skill outcomes by reviewing studies that included (a) a reading intervention without behavioral/social skill components, (b) behavioral/social skill dependent variables, and © students in Grades K-12. Fifteen articles were evaluated by the type of reading intervention, associations between positive reading effects and behavioral/social skill outcomes, and The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) determinants of study ratings. Findings suggested that reading interventions tended to have positive reading outcomes, while behavioral/social skill outcomes were small or negative. Research did not suggest an association between improved reading and behavioral performance, regardless of the WWC study determinants rating. Implications include reading instruction may not be sufficient to improve behavioral and social skill outcomes. Additional research is warranted to investigate the long-term impact of reading on behavioral and social skill outcomes.

Concepts: Improve, Behavior, Intervention, Human behavior, Suggestion, Reading, Determinant


The current study aims at changing teachers' negative attitudes toward persons with intellectual disabilities. The intervention is based on the argument that providing information is not sufficient to achieve lasting change of attitudes toward people with disabilities, and that contact is required as an additional element to show positive results. A pretest-posttest intervention was conducted using three conditions: (a) cognitive intervention, (b) cognitive and behavioral intervention involving contact with the target group, and © no-intervention control. The participants comprised 18 teachers, with 6 teachers in each group. Following baseline assessments of attitudes, attitude change was measured immediately following the intervention and at a follow-up 12 weeks postintervention. The cognitive intervention provided information about intellectual disability and challenged stereotypic conceptions about persons with intellectual disabilities. The behavioral intervention involved being engaged in work with and training persons with intellectual disabilities in sheltered workshops. The results showed that the cognitive intervention alone did not result in significant changes in attitudes toward persons with intellectual disabilities. However, the combined cognitive-behavioral intervention resulted in greater attitude change than the no-intervention condition, both immediately postintervention and at a 12-week follow-up. The findings are discussed with regard to models of attitude change. The study concludes with some recommendations for teacher training programs to be attended to.

Concepts: Educational psychology, Change, Down syndrome, Cognitive behavioral therapy, Schizophrenia, Developmental disability, Disability


Inexpensive software applications designed to teach reading, writing, mathematics, and other academic areas have become increasingly popular. Although previous research has demonstrated the potential efficacy of such applications, there is a paucity of research that compares applications instruction (AI) with traditional teacher-directed instruction (TDI), and the relative effectiveness and efficiency of these instructional approaches remains largely unknown. This study used an alternating treatment design to compare academic engagement and outcomes (i.e., word identification and reading fluency) during an AI condition and a TDI condition for four students with learning disabilities (LD) attending a charter school. Instructional conditions (i.e., TDI, AI) were randomly alternated 7 times each, for a total of 14 instructional sessions. Results indicated that both approaches fostered high levels of engagement although students were more engaged during AI. With regard to academic performance, visual and quantitative analysis suggest that TDI was more effective than AI in terms of passage fluency and word identification. Students completed social validity rating scales to examine instructional preference. Results indicated that both approaches, TDI and AI, were popular with the students.

Concepts: Effect, Effectiveness, Education, Educational psychology, Efficacy, Binary relation, Scales, Word processor


Negative thoughts, experienced by 80% to 99% of the non-clinical population, have been linked to the development of psychopathology. The current study aimed to compare a cognitive restructuring and cognitive defusion technique for coping with a personally relevant negative thought. Over a 5-day period, participants used either a restructuring, defusion, or control strategy to manage a negative thought. Pre- and post-intervention participants reported (a) believability of the thought, (b) discomfort associated with the thought, © negativity associated with the thought, and (d) willingness to experience the thought. Daily online questionnaires assessing the total frequency of negative thought intrusions and their level of willingness to experience the negative thought were also used. Also, 10 positive and negative self-statements were rated on the same scales, and self-report measures of mood and psychological flexibility were completed. Findings indicated that defusion lowered believability, increased comfort and willingness to have the target thought, and increased positive affect significantly more than the control and cognitive restructuring. Within groups, cognitive restructuring also made significant gains in target thought discomfort, negativity, and “willingness to have” in the same direction as defusion but the no-instruction control did not. Negative thought frequency was reduced in the defusion group, maintained in the restructuring group, and increased in the no-instruction control group. Similar trends emerged from the secondary outcome measures, that is, the effects of the strategies on the positive and negative self-statements. The current findings support the efficacy of using defusion as a strategy for managing negative thoughts.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognition, Cognitive science, Management, Mind, Thought, The Target, Reasoning


Cook et al. recently described a progressive model for teaching children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to provide eye contact with an instructor following a name call. The model included the following phases: contingent praise only, contingent edibles plus praise, stimulus prompts plus contingent edibles and praise, contingent video and praise, schedule thinning, generalization assessments, and maintenance evaluations. In the present study, we evaluated the extent to which modifications to the model were needed to train 15 children with ASD to engage in eye contact. Results show that 11 of 15 participants acquired eye contact with the progressive model; however, eight participants required one or more procedural modifications to the model to acquire eye contact. In addition, the four participants who did not acquire eye contact received one or more modifications. Results also show that participants who acquired eye contact with or without modifications continued to display high levels of the behavior during follow-up probes. We discuss directions for future research with and limitations of this progressive model.