Date of Award

Spring 2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Psychology



Committee Chair

Rusty W. Nall


Applied behavior analysis uses scientifically derived methods to create treatments for socially significant behaviors. A threat to these successful treatments is the recurrence of previously reduced behavior (i.e., relapse). Relapse can be categorized into several types depending on the variables that induce relapse. Three types prevalent in clinical settings are reinstatement (i.e., induced by re-exposure to reinforcers or stimuli paired with the target behavior), renewal (i.e., induced by changes in context), and resurgence (i.e., induced by worsening of alternative reinforcement). Because relapse is harmful to long-term treatment maintenance, prior research has developed and tested mitigation strategies for these relapse types, largely beginning with basic/translational studies. Recent studies have found that pairwise combinations of these relapse types generally produce larger magnitude (i.e., the increase in count or frequency of target behavior between extinction and relapse) effects compared to traditional single-type relapse effects. Thus, some have called for the creation of mitigation strategies that target relapse types in combination. The present study presents a translational model for evaluating relapse induced by combinations of events to better simulate the effects that practitioners may face (i.e., multiple relapse types in combination), and to compare the relative magnitude of relapse between different combinations of relapse types. Four groups of rats were exposed to pairwise combinations of reinstatement, resurgence, and renewal conditions, as well as a three-way combination of all conditions. Relapse occurred and was similar in magnitude for all groups. Clinical implications, theoretical implications, and suggested future research are discussed.



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