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Examining the Effectiveness of a Variable Momentary Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior Procedure on Reduction and Maintenance of Problem Behavior

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Purpose of Review

To evaluate the effectiveness of variable-momentary differential reinforcement of other behavior (VM DRO) schedules in the reduction and maintenance of problem behavior. Specifically, will VM DRO be effective in reducing severe problem behavior for two children diagnosed with developmental disorders (DD)?

Recent Findings

Differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing severe problem behavior for decades. However, recent manipulations to the schedule of delivery have led to advancements in DRO. Indicatively, VM DRO has been an effective intervention for automatically reinforced as well as social-positive maintained behavior for individuals with developmental disabilities. There is a dearth of research on variable- and fixed-momentary DRO schedules for individuals with DD; therefore, more examinations may be necessary.


Two case studies of individuals who had been diagnosed with developmental disabilities were reviewed. Functional analyses were conducted and indicated that problem behavior for both participants was maintained by social-positive reinforcement. VM DRO was effective at reducing one participant’s problem behavior. Fixed interval differential reinforcement of other behavior (FI DRO) was effective at reducing the other participant’s problem behavior. Findings suggest that VM DRO may not be effective at reducing problem behavior for all individuals and that outcomes may be idiosyncratic.

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Correspondence to Casey J. Clay.

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Hamilton, K.M., Clay, C.J. & Kahng, S. Examining the Effectiveness of a Variable Momentary Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior Procedure on Reduction and Maintenance of Problem Behavior. Curr Dev Disord Rep (2020).

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  • Differential reinforcement of other behavior
  • Functional analysis
  • Behavior reduction
  • Self-injurious behavior