Behavior Analysis in Practice

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 612–616 | Cite as

Using a Lottery to Promote Physical Activity by Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities

  • Anita LiEmail author
  • Hugo Curiel
  • Steven P. Ragotzy
  • Alan Poling
Brief Practice


Exercise benefits adults with developmental disabilities. A prior study demonstrated that a treatment package comprising goal setting and fixed-ratio 1 reinforcement for goal attainment substantially increased walking. However, continuous reinforcement delivery may be untenable due to cost and time. In an effort to develop a more practical package intervention, we evaluated a procedure that involved setting goals for steps taken each 6-h school day and a lottery system for awarding prizes for goal completion. Three of the four participants took substantially more steps when the intervention was in effect, and all of them rated it as highly acceptable.


Accelerometers Developmental disabilities Exercise Goal setting Lottery Reinforcement 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Anita Li declares she has no conflict of interest. Hugo Curiel declares he has no conflict of interest. Steven Ragotzy declares he has no conflict of interest. Alan Poling declares he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. Bodde, A. E., & Seo, D. C. (2009). A review of social and environmental barriers to physical activities for adults with intellectual disabilities. Disability and Health Journal, 2, 57–66. Scholar
  2. Centers for Disease Control. (2003). Prevalence of physical activity, including lifestyle activities among adults: United States, 2000–2001. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 52, 764–769.Google Scholar
  3. Donlin Washington, W., Banna, K. M., & Gibson, A. L. (2014). Preliminary efficacy of prize-based contingency management to increase activity levels in healthy adults. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 47, 231–245. Scholar
  4. Epstein, L. H., Wing, R. R., Thompson, J. K., & Griffin, W. (1980). Attendance and fitness in aerobic exercise: The effects of contract and lottery procedures. Behavior Modification, 4, 465–479. Scholar
  5. Iwane, M., Arita, M., Tomimoto, S., Satini, O., Matsumoto, M., Miyashita, K., & Nishio, I. (2000). Walking 10,000 steps/day or more reduces blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in mild essential hypertension. Hypertension Research, 34, 573–580. Scholar
  6. Johnson, P. T. (2009). The benefits of physical exercise for youth with developmental disabilities: A systematic review. American Journal of Health Promotion, 23, 157–167. Scholar
  7. Kurti, A., & Dallery, J. (2013). Internet-based contingency management increases walking in sedentary adults. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 46, 568–581. Scholar
  8. La Londe, K. B., MacNeill, B. R., Eversole, L. W., Ragotzy, S. P., & Poling, A. (2014). Increasing physical activity in young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8, 1679–1684. Scholar
  9. Reid, D. H., & Parsons, M. B. (1995). Motivating human service staff: Supervisory strategies for maximizing work effort and work enjoyment. Morganton, NC: Habilitative Management Consultants.Google Scholar
  10. Wine, B., Edgerton, L., Inzana, E., & Newcomb, E. T. (2017). Further effects of lottery odds on responding. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 37, 75–82. Scholar

Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Wood HallWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA
  2. 2.Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service AgencyKalamazooUSA

Personalised recommendations