Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Department of Psychology: School Psychology
Gary L. Cates
Noncontingent reinforcement (NCR), delivered on a fixed-time schedule, is a behavioral and evidence-based intervention recommended by school psychologists that may be underutilized due to resistance to behaviorally-orientated strategies, which often conflict with the child-centered training philosophies of teachers (Bear, 2013). Due to training rooted different learning philosophies, the language and verbal repertoires amongst these professionals may not always be consistent, presenting a barrier to effective communication. Relational Frame Theory (RFT) holds that the core of human language and cognition is the ability to learn to relate terms and ideas and has been effectively used to alleviate communication barriers by expanding on current verbal networks (Hayes, 2004).
The purpose of the present study was to utilize a mixed-methods design to explore the influence of language and teacher behavior management style on the treatment acceptability of NCR. Specifically, the study assessed whether the type of language used to describe an intervention or a participant’s general approach to behavioral intervention would influence treatment acceptability ratings as measured by way of the Intervention Rating Profile-15 (IRP-15). Participants in the current study included 108 current public school teachers who completed an online survey.
Results demonstrated a significant main effect of language on treatment acceptability ratings. Interventions described using teacher-derived language and a combination of teacher-derived language and behavioral language were both favored over interventions described in strictly behavioral terms. Overall, participants also demonstrated a significant preference for their own interventions. Interestingly, behavior management style had no effect on treatment acceptability ratings.
These results suggest that aspects of RFT can employed as an effective consultation technique when suggesting an intervention by using a combination of behavioral language and common teacher terminology. Implications of these findings are discussed as they relate to current behavioral consultation practices and future graduate training in school psychology.
Rohan, Amanda R., "Exploring the Influence of Relational Frame Theory on the Treatment Acceptability of Noncontingent Reinforcement" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 1123.