Analysis of activity preferences as a function of differential consequences.
Individuals who do not possess the verbal skills to express meaningful choice in the absence of its consequences may have difficulty indicating their preference for protracted activities that are unavailable until some time in the future (e.g., taking a walk, riding a bike). When we examined the preferences of 4 individuals with developmental disabilities by showing them pictorial representations of various activities, their initial choices showed no clear preferences. In a subsequent condition, selecting a photograph resulted in brief access to the depicted activity. When selections produced differential consequences (i.e., access to the activity), clear preferences emerged. In addition, 3 individuals' preferences were later shifted to an initially less preferred but more socially desirable option by superimposing additional reinforcement contingencies for engaging in the less preferred activity. Results are discussed in terms of the conditions under which choice functions as an indicator of preference and how those conditions may be altered to improve the quality of choice making without limiting access to preferred options. (+info)
Helping people with severe mental illness to obtain work: systematic review.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the most effective way of helping people with severe mental illness to obtain competitive employment-that is, a job paid at the market rate, and for which anyone can apply. DESIGN: Systematic review. PARTICIPANTS: Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials comparing prevocational training or supported employment (for people with severe mental illness) with each other or with standard community care. OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome was number of subjects in competitive employment. Secondary outcomes were other employment outcomes, clinical outcomes, and costs. RESULTS: Eleven trials met the inclusion criteria. Five (1204 subjects) compared prevocational training with standard community care, one (256 subjects) compared supported employment with standard community care, and five (484 subjects) compared supported employment with prevocational training. Subjects in supported employment were more likely to be in competitive employment than those who received prevocational training at 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, and 18 months (for example, 34% v 12% at 12 months; number needed to treat 4.45, 95% confidence interval 3.37 to 6.59). This effect was still present, although at a reduced level, after a sensitivity analysis that retained only the highest quality trials (31% v 12%; 5.3, 3.6 to 10.4). People in supported employment earned more and worked more hours per month than those who had had prevocational training. CONCLUSION: Supported employment is more effective than prevocational training at helping people with severe mental illness obtain competitive employment. (+info)
Treatment efficacy of noncontingent reinforcement during brief and extended application.
We evaluated the long-term therapeutic effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR). In Experiment 1, NCR effects were examined with 2 participants' arbitrary responses; in Experiment 2, NCR was used as treatment with 3 participants whose self-injurious behavior (SIB) was maintained by automatic reinforcement. In both experiments, NCR consisted of continuous access to a highly preferred leisure item and was implemented initially during 10-min and later during 120-min sessions. Varied reinforcers (leisure items) were subsequently introduced during 120-min sessions to determine if treatment effects might be extended. Finally (Experiment 2 only), NCR was implemented throughout the day in participants' homes. Results of Experiments 1 and 2 showed that reinforcers obtained through object manipulation can compete with those obtained automatically by engaging in SIB during brief NCR sessions. However, data from the 120-min sessions indicated that satiation to a specific leisure item might occur over periods of time more typical of those during which treatment would be implemented. Access to a variety of highly preferred leisure items extended the effectiveness of NCR for some individuals. When NCR was implemented throughout the day (Experiment 2), therapeutic effects were shown to be maintained for up to 1 year. (+info)
Response-restriction analysis: I. Assessment of activity preferences.
We used procedures based on response-restriction (RR) analysis to assess vocational and leisure activity preferences for 3 adults with developmental disabilities. To increase the efficiency of the analysis relative to that reported in previous research, we used criteria that allowed activities to be restricted at the earliest point at which a preference could be determined. Results obtained across two consecutive RR assessments showed some variability in overall preference rankings but a high degree of consistency for highly ranked items. Finally, we compared results of the RR assessment with those of an extended free-operant assessment and found that the RR assessment yielded (a) more differentiated patterns of preference and (b) more complete information about engagement with all of the target activities. (+info)
Response-restriction analysis: II. Alteration of activity preferences.
We used response-restriction (RR) assessments to identify the preferences of 7 individuals with mental retardation for a variety of vocational and leisure activities. We subsequently increased their engagement in nonpreferred activities using several procedures: response restriction per se versus a Premack-type contingency (Study 1), supplemental reinforcement for engagement in target activities (Study 2), and noncontingent pairing of reinforcers with nonpreferred activities (Study 3). Results indicated that preferences are not immutable and can be altered through a variety of relatively benign interventions and that the results of RR assessments may be helpful in determining which types of procedures may be most effective on an individual basis. (+info)
The effects of extinction, noncontingent reinforcement and differential reinforcement of other behavior as control procedures.
Several techniques have been used in applied research as controls for the introduction of a reinforcement contingency, including extinction, noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), and differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO). Little research, however, has examined the relative strengths and limitations of these "reversal" controls. We compared the effects of extinction with those of NCR and DRO in both multi-element and reversal designs, with respect to (a) rate and amount of response decrement, (b) rate of response recovery following reintroduction of reinforcement, and (c) any positive or negative side effects associated with transitions. Results indicated that extinction generally produced the most consistent and rapid reversal effects, with few observed negative side effects. (+info)
Effects of reinforcer consumption and magnitude on response rates during noncontingent reinforcement.
Results of previous research on the effects of noncontingent reinforcement (NCR) have been inconsistent when magnitude of reinforcement was manipulated. We attempted to clarify the influence of NCR magnitude by including additional controls. In Study 1, we examined the effects of reinforcer consumption time by comparing the same magnitude of NCR when session time was and was not corrected to account for reinforcer consumption. Lower response rates were observed when session time was not corrected, indicating that reinforcer consumption can suppress response rates. In Study 2, we first selected varying reinforcer magnitudes (small, medium, and large) on the basis of corrected response rates observed during a contingent reinforcement condition and then compared the effects of these magnitudes during NCR. One participant exhibited lower response rates when large-magnitude reinforcers were delivered; the other ceased responding altogether even when small-magnitude reinforcers were delivered. We also compared the effects of the same NCR magnitude (medium) during 10-min and 30-min sessions. Lower response rates were observed during 30-min sessions, indicating that the number of reinforcers consumed across a session can have the same effect as the number consumed per reinforcer delivery. These findings indicate that, even when response rate is corrected to account for reinforcer consumption, larger magnitudes of NCR (defined on either a per-delivery or per-session basis) result in lower response rates than do smaller magnitudes. (+info)
Social interactions in three supported employment options: a comparative analysis.
Controversy exists over the benefits that workers with severe disabilities accrue under different supported employment options. This study focused upon one benefit of supported employment: social integration. Direct observation procedures were used to assess the social interactions of 37 adults with severe disabilities in 18 employment programs representing three different supported employment contexts (individual, enclave, and work crew). Results indicated that workers employed in individual and enclave programs had significantly more contact with nondisabled persons than did members of work crews. No differences were detected in the social contact rate between disabled and nondisabled workers in individual versus enclave sites. Furthermore, few differences in type of interactions across the three different work options were revealed. Results suggest that both individual and enclave models are capable of facilitating social integration. However, characteristics of specific job sites, more so than the employment model per se, may determine whether a particular employment setting is conducive to social integration. (+info)