Effects of delayed time-out on problem behavior of preschool children

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Time-out is a common negative punishment procedure in home and school settings. Although prior studies have shown time-out is effective, more research is needed on its effects when implementation is imperfect. We evaluated delays to time-out with 4 preschool children who engaged in some combination of aggression, property destruction, and rule breaking. Target behavior decreased for all subjects exposed to delayed time-out, with 3 of 4 subjects displaying low levels of target behavior even when time-out was delayed by 90-120 s. These data suggest delayed time-out might be effective in situations in which a caregiver or teacher cannot implement time-out immediately.

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Journal of applied behavior analysis

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