The token economy for schizophrenia: Review of the literature and recommendations for future research

Faith B. Dickerson, Wendy N. Tenhula, Lisa D. Green-Paden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The token economy is a treatment intervention based on principles of operant conditioning and social learning. Developed in the 1950s and 1960s for long-stay hospital patients, the token economy has fallen out of favor since that time. The current review was undertaken as part of the 2003 update of the schizophrenia treatment recommendations of the Patient Outcomes Research Team (PORT). A total of 13 controlled studies of the token economy were reviewed. As a group, the studies provide evidence of the token economy's effectiveness in increasing the adaptive behaviors of patients with schizophrenia. Most of the studies are limited, however, by methodological shortcomings and by the historical context in which they were performed. More research is needed to determine the specific benefits of the token economy when administered in combination with contemporary psychosocial and psychopharmacological treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-416
Number of pages12
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Volume75
Issue number2-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavior therapy
  • Operant conditioning
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social learning
  • Token economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

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