This study examined whether multiple antecedent and consequent variables, when arranged in different combinations, would differentially affect the likelihood that problem and/or appropriate behaviors would occur. Juan, age 4, engaged in a variety of aggressive behaviors during free-play activities at a childcare program. A descriptive assessment that included structured interviews and observations was conducted, and a series of assessment conditions were designed and implemented using a multi-element design. The initial assessment conditions examined the impact of the ratio of toys to peers during free-play activities. When there was an unfavorable ratio, that is, when there were few toys but many peers, aggressive behaviors occurred at a very high rate. When the ratio improved so that there were enough toys for each child, the rate of aggressive behavior dropped dramatically. During subsequent conditions, specific social skills were first taught and then prompted and reinforced, and occurrences of aggressive behavior were ignored. During these sessions, aggressive behaviors were virtually nonexistent and the use of appropriate social behavior by the children increased. Perhaps most important, this result obtained even when there was an unfavorable ratio of toys to peers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Applied Psychology