Graduation Date

Summer 8-9-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Medical Sciences Interdepartmental Area

First Advisor

Wayne Fisher

Second Advisor

Brian Greer

Third Advisor

Cathleen Piazza

Fourth Advisor

Kathryn Peterson


Clinicians frequently prescribe functional communication training (FCT) as a treatment for severe destructive behavior. Recent research has shown that FCT treatments are susceptible to treatment relapse in the form of resurgence of destructive behavior when individuals contact periods in which reinforcers are unavailable (e.g., Fisher, Greer, Fuhrman, Saini, & Simmons, 2018). Behavioral Momentum Theory (BMT) is a quantitative model of behavior researchers have employed to predict treatment relapse when the reinforcement component of FCT is suspended, which may occur when a caregiver is unable to implement treatment. Although many studies support the accuracy of BMT (e.g., Fisher et al., 2018), it does not provide predictions for training multiple alternative responses during FCT, which recent research suggests can decrease resurgence (e.g., Lambert, Bloom, Samaha, & Dayton, 2017). A novel theory of resurgence, Resurgence as Choice (RaC; Shahan & Craig, 2017), allows researchers to test predictions of programming multiple alternative responses. The current study used a translational arrangement to evaluate the effects of training one alternative response versus multiple alternative responses on the resurgence of target behavior. Findings showed that multiple-response training did not decrease resurgence of target responding consistently, however, it increased the total amount of responding observed during the resurgence phase and decreased the overall probability of the target response.

Available for download on Saturday, June 26, 2021