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Relative Efficacy of Behavioral Interventions in Preschool Children Attending Head Start

Abstract

This study tested the relative efficacy of two interventions for children referred for consultation services due to problem behavior in the classroom. Teachers nominated children for participation due to frequent disruptive behaviors, such as inappropriate vocalizations and off-task behavior. Four Black males from 3 to 4 years old who attended Head Start centers served as the participants. Each child received a functional assessment that included a teacher-completed functional assessment rating scale and a brief functional analysis. Following functional assessments, an alternating treatments design was used to test the relative efficacy of an intervention matched to function and the Mystery Motivator intervention, not matched to function. Results indicate that both the intervention matched to function and the Mystery Motivator intervention were superior to a no-intervention control condition, but the function-matched intervention was more effective than the Mystery Motivator intervention for reducing problem behaviors and increasing appropriate engagement for all four children. Results are discussed in terms of learning principles potentially responsible for differential efficacy, as well as implications for applied practice.

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Correspondence to Katherine M. Bellone.

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Bellone, K.M., Dufrene, B.A., Tingstrom, D.H. et al. Relative Efficacy of Behavioral Interventions in Preschool Children Attending Head Start. J Behav Educ 23, 378–400 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-014-9196-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10864-014-9196-6

Keywords

  • Functional assessment
  • Mystery Motivator
  • Preschool
  • Behavioral interventions