Single Subject Research Design
The following paper presents the use of an ABA single subject research design in evaluating a 16 year old foster youth’s behavior, and the use of an intervention on decreasing negative behavior and increasing positive behavior. Use of the ABA design, factors to be evaluated, treatment variables, implementation of the research design, data gathering, and data analysis are all discussed. Limitations of single subject research designs are also presented. Finally, graphed data is attached in the appendix.
Single Subject Research Design
Factors to be Evaluated
Halle is a 16-year-old female who currently resides in foster care. Over the past few years, she has struggled with a number of behavioral concerns including cutting, verbal aggression and physical aggression. Since Halle was placed in foster care, her verbal and physical aggression has decreased and seems to be provoked by contact with her biological mother. Although these behaviors have decreased, Halle continues to cut herself with various objects on a regular basis as a way to cope with stress. Using an ABA single subject research design, the researcher will evaluate the effectiveness of weekly individual outpatient counseling on Halle’s cutting.
The foster mother was able to document the number of times Halle cut over a four week period while she was on the waiting list for counseling. This period provided baseline data on Halle’s behavior, and documented that Halle cut herself 43 times in four weeks. Halle began the counseling program after the four-week waiting period, and will meet with the counselor weekly for 10 weeks. The ABA design was chosen to evaluate the effectiveness of the current intervention for three main reasons. First, the foster mother was able to collect baseline data. Second, there is one planned intervention (individual counseling) and one main problem being treated (cutting). Third, the intervention is time limited, there are no additional planned interventions at this time, and the foster mother can continue tracking the cutting during and after the intervention (Bloom, Fischer & Orme, 2006).
The treatment variables measured include cutting and use of an alternative method to cope with anxiety. First, Halle will eliminate cutting as a way to cope with her anxiety by the end of the counseling program. Second, Halle will increase the number of times she goes for a walk when she is angry to vent her feelings. The frequency of these behaviors would be measured by the foster mother recording when Halle cuts, how many cuts occur, and how many times Halle goes for a walk when she becomes angry. Implementation of the Single Subject Design
It is important to hear from Halle about her current situation and behaviors, and to involve her in the decision regarding what intervention will be implemented and evaluated (Bloom, Fischer & Orme, 2006). Because the behavior identified was cutting, and Halle has a tendency to hide this from others, the foster mother was identified as the data collector. At 10pm each night, the foster mother would check Halle for cuts and tally the number of cuts on a daily calendar. After four weeks, Halle began her counseling, which started the treatment phase, and the foster mother continued to use the same method to collect the data. The target of the individual counseling sessions is for Halle to develop an understanding of her cutting behavior and aggressive reactions to anger. In addition, Halle will learn techniques to constructively cope with her feelings. The goal is for Halle to decrease her aggression and eliminate her cutting by replacing these behaviors with going for a walk to vent her feelings. Once the counseling began, the foster mother also began tallying the number of times Halle became angry and the number of times when angry that Halle went for a walk. For Halle, angry is...