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Applied Behavior Analysis Research and Application
As part of the requirements for this course, you will complete a research paper on behavior of interest to you. In Unit 3, you identified your topic and got your instructor's approval. You will now complete your research and evaluate the methodologies used to define the behavior, the ways in which that behavior is measured in the ABA field, and the treatment methodologies and experimental designs utilized to treat that behavior. Use the course assignments you completed during the course as possible resources for completing your project. You must synthesize the findings of at least 10 recent journal articles in your final paper.

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The aim of the present paper is to review and discuss several applied behavior analysis research studies concerned with tantrum behavior. The studies presented in this paper are selected based on their recency and relevance to the topic.
A behavior in focus of this paper is tantrum (i.e. temper tantrum), often defined “as an episode of extreme anger and frustration characterized by crying, screaming, and violent body motions, including throwing things, falling to the floor, and banging one's head, hands, and feet against the floor” (Potegal & Davidson, 2003, p. 140).
In this research review, definition of tantrum behavior differs somewhat between studies but is usually aligned with operational definition of tantrum as “continual high-pitched vocalizations or shouting at a volume above normal level” (Worcester, McLaughlin, Barretto, & Blecher, 2015). Constructs similar and/or related to tantrum behavior are noncompliant behavior and challenging behavior.
In the following sections, 10 studies will be summarized and reviewed based on methodology used for applied behavior analysis of temper tantrums and conceptually related behaviors.
Use of a Functional Behavior Assessment to Address Tantrum Behavior with a
Preschooler with Developmental Delays

The aim of the case study by Worcester et al. (2015) was to conduct a functional behavioral assessment to assess the tantrum and non-compliant behaviors of a preschool child. The only participant was a four-year-old boy diagnosed with developmental delay. The boy had several significant difficulties in communication. This had adversely affected his ability to use communication strategies to interact effectively with others, especially in terms of requesting turns from peers and using appropriate verbal communication to get his needs met. Child’s tantrums were tangible and escape maintained, and for that reason two different interventions were implemented to address each function by teaching a more appropriate alternate behavior (Worcester et al., 2015). The study setting was in a self-contained special education preschool classroom at an elementary school in the Pacific Northwest (Worcester et al., 2015). Other than the participant, seven other students between the ages of 3 and 4 with a range of developmental delays were present in the classroom throughout the study. One lead teacher, two instructional assistants, and one student teacher were also present in the classroom during the study (Worcester et al., 2015).
For intervention on whining for a tangible function, an ABAB single case design was used (Worcester et al., 2015). The design of instruction on the second instruction target (decreasing whining for an escape function) was more complex - ABCDAD (A – baseline; B – functional communication training + choice treatment package; C – functional communication training + choice + transition object treatment package; D – transition object alone) (Worcester et al., 2015). The independent variables were following intervention(s):
(1) Within the ABAB design (intervention aimed at whining for a tangible function): (a) communication board; (b) functional communication training + choice + transition object; (c) transition object.
(2) Within the ABCDAD design (intervention aimed whining for an escape function): (a) functional communication training + choice;
The results of the study show that tantrum behavior was maintained by both tangible and escape reinforcers. As can be seen on the graph by Worchester et al. (2015, pp. 531-532), specifically during tantrum behavior was displayed at an average 31% for the tangible sessions, and at 23% for the escape sessions. When the communication board was implemented, tantrums decreased to 6%. During the return to baseline for the tangible condition, the participant had tantrums 24% of the sessions. When the communication board was reimplemented, tantrums dropped to 4%.
The participant had displayed tantrum behavior for an average...

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