Adult attention frequently serves as a maintaining variable for problem behavior (Iwata et al., 1994). In addition, different aspects of attention such as the content of a statement or the person delivering the attention may moderate the rate of problem behavior and potentially affect treatment outcome (Fisher, Ninness, Piazza, & Owen-DeSchryver, 1996). In the current study, we examined the effects of two variables hypothesized to affect the rate of attention-maintained aggression in an adolescent female with profound mental retardation: gender of therapist and type of attention (physical versus verbal). The initial study examined the results of functional analyses conducted with therapists of different genders. An analysis was then conducted to determine the main and interaction effects of therapist gender and type of attention on the effectiveness of noncontingent reinforcement. The results indicate that each variable affected the rate of problem behavior (i.e., main effects) and that the two variables combined to produce an even greater effect (i.e., interaction effect) for males than for females. Next, we examined the impact of therapist gender on the effectiveness of an alternative intervention (functional communication training with extinction). The results support the initial hypotheses that therapist gender impacted both assessment and intervention results for this adolescent female.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Psychiatry and Mental health