A comparative study of group contingencies and randomized reinforcers to reduce disruptive classroom behavior

Date of Completion

January 2002


Education, Educational Psychology




Educators face the challenging task of effectively addressing the disruptive behaviors exhibited by students with behavior disorders. Disruptive classroom behavior has been associated with both decrement in academic performance and increased risk for antisocial behavior. Numerous interventions have been employed to reduce disruptive behavior; however, the majority of these have focused on individual student behaviors in contrast to the group's behavior. Group, or classroom-wide, contingencies are a viable alternative in that they are relatively easy to implement, economically feasible, and require minimal teacher time. Although research findings have suggested that group contingencies are efficacious in reducing disruptive behavior, the data remain inconclusive regarding which group contingency (interdependent, dependent, and independent) is most effective. This investigation employed an alternating treatment design to compare the treatment effects of independent, interdependent, and dependent group contingencies in the reduction of disruptive behavior in 5 adolescent males identified with serious emotional disturbance. All students received each intervention in a predetermined randomized order. The current study documented the meaningful and practical influences of group contingencies in the reduction of classroom disruptive behavior. However, clear superiority among group contingencies was not evidenced. ^