Does Training Multiple Alternative Responses Mitigate Resurgence?
Resurgence is a type of treatment relapse that occurs when an extinguished behavior reappears once a more recently reinforced behavior is placed on extinction. Resurgence of problem behavior often occurs when treatment-integrity errors are made during the implementation of differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA). Training multiple alternative responses shows a promise in mitigating resurgence of problem behavior compared to training only a single response. The current study used laboratory methods to systematically replicate previous studies comparing the effects of more typical-DRA training with serial-DRA training on the magnitude of resurgence. Extensions included children as participants, topographically different target and alternative responses, and counterbalanced independent conditions. Participants were exposed to a control (typical) condition and a serial condition. Each condition consisted of three phases: reinforcement, elimination, and a resurgence phase. The reinforcement phase was identical for both conditions in which a target response was trained. For the elimination phase within the control condition, the target response was placed on extinction and a single alternative response was trained. Whereas, within the test condition, the target response was placed on extinction and three alternative responses were sequentially trained. In the resurgence phase for both conditions all responses previously trained were placed on extinction. For only one of three participants was resurgence less in the serial condition, differing from previous research. This study helps establish and refine potential methods for mitigating resurgence when DRA treatment is implemented in the treatment of problem behavior.