Assessing the Combined Effects of Resurgence and Renewal
Resurgence and renewal are laboratory models of treatment relapse revealing the effects of treatment integrity errors and context change on problem behavior eliminated through treatment with differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA). This study used translational methods to assess the effects of context change after DRA (renewal) with and without extinction in the form of treatment integrity errors (resurgence) on relapse in children with autism. In Phase 1 and in Context A, we trained an arbitrary target response. In Phase 2 and in Context B, we extinguished the target response and reinforced an alternative response. Phase 3 tested for relapse when the participant was returned to the original context (A). In one Phase 3 condition (100%), DRA treatment was continued as in Phase 2. In the other condition (0%) the participant was exposed to extinction of alternative responding, modeling errors of omission. For two of three participants, renewal of target responding was observed in the 100% condition, and for all participants, resurgence of target responding was greater in the 0% condition compared to the 100% condition. This study revealed resurgence of target behavior is greater when context change is combined with breakdowns in treatment integrity.