Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Behavior Analysis and Therapy

First Advisor

Rehfeldt, Ruth Anne

Second Advisor

Nichols, Jane

Third Advisor

Redner, Ryan


Positive staff interactions with clients can be difficult to maintain when working with adults with developmental disabilities who display challenging behavior. Research findings have demonstrated a common display of challenging behaviors within this population and some of the staff that work with these individuals display less than positive interactions which has led researchers to investigate the use of several behavioral approaches to improve staff interactions. One intervention that has been explored is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT); however, there is limited research in applying ACT to this problem. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of ACT, specifically the use of mindfulness techniques in improving staff interactions towards developmentally disabled clients. Results of this study revealed that mindfulness techniques were effective at improving staff interactions towards clients, as indicated by an increased number of positive staff interactions, with continued practice of these behaviors during maintenance probes.




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