A review of empirical support for differential reinforcement of alternative behavior

Erin S. Petscher, Catalina Rey, Jon S. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations

Abstract

Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior (DRA) is one of the most common behavior analytic interventions used to decrease unwanted behavior. We reviewed the DRA literature from the past 30 years to identify the aspects that are thoroughly researched and those that would benefit from further emphasis. We found and coded 116 empirical studies that used DRA, later grouping them into categories that met APA Division 12 Task Force criteria. We found that DRA has been successful at reducing behaviors on a continuum from relatively minor problems like prelinguistic communication to life-threatening failure to thrive. DRA with and without extinction is well established for treating destructive behavior of those with developmental disabilities, and to combat food refusal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-425
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Aberrant behavior
  • Behavior analysis
  • Destructive behavior
  • Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior
  • Empirically supported treatments
  • Functional communication training
  • Problem behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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