ABA’s Other Uses

A man walking through an abstract environment with imagery about health, fitness, and the environment

As we’ve discussed in recent posts, it’s a myth that applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is only designed to treat children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Not only can ABA help as a treatment for children with autism, but it can also be used as therapy for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) in children, adolescents, and adults. It can be further utilized to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), and many other ways.

ABA can also be used in a variety of other ways, such as behavioral sport psychology, environmental sustainability, health and fitness, organizational and public health. Read on to take a quick look at how applied behavior analysis is used in some of these non-clinical settings.

ABA & Behavioral Sport Psychology

Board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs) can choose to practice in the ABA subfield of behavioral sport psychology. With their knowledge of the science of learning and behavior, clinicians can help individual athletes, coaches, teams, and organizations. Some of the areas that ABA targets in sport psychology include maximizing competition during performance, decreasing any problem behaviors, addressing motivation, teaching coaching techniques, and more.

Interventions for these types of targets can include self-monitoring, setting goals, video and auditory feedback (such as “watching tape”), and behavioral skills training, among others. In addition to behavior, clinicians in this field can often have a background in athletic training and may also be personal trainers or coaches.

ABA & Environmental Sustainability

A behavior analyst can be brought in as an advisor to policymakers and researchers when it comes to issues such as the environment, climate change, and environmental sustainability. Clinicians are a part of the process to help improve sustainability practices, which can include areas like food production and waste, pollution, renewable energy, emission control, and other environmental issues. 

To improve sustainable practices, clinicians can use several methods that draw on their knowledge of environmental arrangements, targeted feedback, and group contingencies. There is a Facebook page dedicated to this branch of ABA called “ABA and the Earth.”

ABA in Health & Fitness

ABA in health and fitness can have a bit of overlap with sport psychology, but in sport psychology the focus is on the individual and team; ABA in health and fitness focuses on an individual’s health, fitness ,and nutrition goals. If someone is struggling with motivation, is having a slow start, or is struggling to stay on track, a clinician can help in all of these areas, fostering individual behavior change. Goal-setting, stimulus control, and self-monitoring can be a large part of treatment. ABA clinicians can specialize even further into specific areas such as personal training, nutrition coaching, and lifestyle coaching.

ABA in Public Health

Such as with the environment, ABA clinicians can work with experts and policymakers in the public health sector as advisors. This could manifest as strategies to help the public make better food and exercise choices, replacing current behaviors with ones that will improve quality of life. An ABA clinician can also design a framework for public health; with their knowledge of behavior, they can promote healthier behaviors for the community at large.

For more information on how applied behavior analysis can help your child, or to learn more about the other ways ABA can be used, contact us today at Acclaim Autism to speak with a professional or make an appointment for an assessment. 


Applied Behavior Analysis Subspecialty Areas. (n.d.). BACB. Retrieved July 2, 2023, from https://www.bacb.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Executive-Summary_220831.pdf

BACB – ABOUT BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS. (n.d.). BACB. Retrieved July 2, 2023, from https://www.bacb.com/about-behavior-analysis/

Debunking The Myth: ABA Is Not Just For Autism. (2015, May 19). How to ABA. Retrieved July 2, 2023, from https://howtoaba.com/debunking-the-myth-aba-is-not-just-for-autism/