A survey of utilizing applied behavior analysis in the treatment of individuals with dementia



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Dementia research is essential as it focuses on the quality of life and finances of individuals with dementia. Although dementia research remains critical, there is a lack of research about the efficacy and benefits of combining the available treatment modalities needed to care for older adults. To address this issue, the purpose of this quantitative study was to explore the perspectives of applied behavior analysis (ABA) practitioners related to the effectiveness of ABA on individuals with dementia. Using ABA as a theoretical framework, research questions focused on identifying 22 practitioners' perceptions regarding the efficacy and use of ABA to treat dementia. A second research question determined what personal characteristics of ABA practitioners are associated with ABA effectiveness. ABA effectiveness was measured using four subscales: usefulness, ease of use, intent to use, and barriers. Results indicated participants perceived barriers to using ABA for dementia patients; however, they still intended to use ABA for their dementia patients. Additionally, no demographic variables significantly differentiated ABA effectiveness. The results of this study indicate ABA practitioners intend to apply ABA in the field of dementia despite perceived barriers. These practitioners must see some valence in persisting with ABA's use. Results indicate more research is needed on the intent of ABA practitioners to use ABA in the treatment of dementia despite numerous barriers and offers a new scale with which perceptions surrounding the use of ABA for dementia treatment can be measured.



Applied Behavior Analysis, ABA Effectiveness, Dementia Research, Dementia Treatment