The impact of stimulus preference, order-effects, and treatment component omission in evaluating treatment integrity

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Prior research on treatment integrity has focused either on the lack of measurement of the independent variable or on methods to increase overall levels of treatment integrity. Little research has focused on the effectiveness of common interventions when implemented with less than perfect integrity. The current investigation evaluated the effectiveness of using differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) and prompting to increase math completion for 36 early elementary students. Treatment was evaluated when both components were implemented, when only reinforcement was implemented, when only prompting was implemented, and when neither was implemented. In addition, preferences for either attention or escape and order-effects of conditions were evaluated. Results indicated treatment was effective at all levels of implementation compared to baseline. However, when preferences for escape and attention were evaluated, analysis revealed individuals who preferred escape responded best when both treatment components were implemented, whereas for individuals who preferred attention, all treatment conditions were equally effective. In addition, results evaluating order effects indicated that exposure to either prompting or reinforcement prior to baseline significantly increased math completion as well as exposure to reinforcement in the first condition.

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Journal of school psychology

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