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ERIC Number: ED526173
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 64
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-8608-2
Competing Contingencies for Escape Behavior: Effects of Negative Reinforcement Magnitude and Quality
Hammond, Jennifer L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida
Previous research has shown that problem behavior maintained by social-negative reinforcement can be treated without escape extinction by enhancing the quality of positive reinforcement for an appropriate alternative response such as compliance. By contrast, negative reinforcement (escape) for compliance generally has been ineffective in the absence of extinction. It is possible, however, that escape for compliance might be effective if the magnitude or quality of negative reinforcement for compliance is greater than that for problem behavior. This study examined the effects of negative reinforcement magnitude and quality on problem behavior and compliance that occurred in the context of demands. In Study 1, we evaluated the effects of negative reinforcement magnitude on the escape-maintained behavior of 7 individuals with developmental disabilities. Across all treatment phases, compliance produced escape of an equal, greater, or (in some cases) lesser duration than problem behavior. Problem behavior decreased for 2 of 7 subjects when equal magnitudes of reinforcement were delivered for both response options. One subject demonstrated reductions in problem behavior and improvements in compliance in the absence of escape extinction when compliance was positively reinforced. The remaining 4 subjects, however, showed no improvement until extinction was added as a treatment component. In Study 2, we evaluated the effects of negative reinforcement quality on the escape-maintained behavior of 3 individuals by blocking problem behavior for the duration of its occurrence during the escape interval. Treatment effects were achieved for 2 of 3 subjects when the quality of negative reinforcement was manipulated. Enhancing the quality of positive reinforcement for compliance was required for the remaining subject. Taken together, results suggest that (a) very small breaks following problem behavior may be sufficient to maintain behavior that is sensitive to escape as a reinforcer, but that (b) reducing the quality of negative reinforcement for problem behavior via blocking may be effective even though task demands are removed for a period of time. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A