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Task as Reinforcer: a Reactive Alternative to Traditional Forms of Escape Extinction

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Abstract

Inappropriate behaviors, ranging from passive resistance to physical aggression, property destruction, or self-injurious behavior frequently function for escape from or avoidance of non-preferred activities. Proactive procedures have been shown to be only moderately effective without the use of escape extinction, but escape extinction can produce negative side effects, and efforts have been made to find alternatives. The current study tested the efficacy of a reactive procedure that may serve as an alternative to traditional forms of escape extinction. In a multiple baseline across behavioral excesses, non-preferred activities, and participants, a timeout from the opportunity to work effectively reduced behavioral excesses and increased compliance with non-preferred activities. With one participant, a multiple baseline was implemented across instructional targets, resulting in an increased rate of skill acquisition after “wait outs” were introduced to each program.

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Correspondence to Steve Ward.

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This study was not funded by any grants or outside agencies.

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Author A declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author B declares that she has no conflict of interest. Author C declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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All procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the agencies involved and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from the parents of each individual participant included in the study.

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Ward, S., Parker, A. & Perdikaris, A. Task as Reinforcer: a Reactive Alternative to Traditional Forms of Escape Extinction. Behav Analysis Practice 10, 22–34 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-016-0139-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40617-016-0139-7

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