Escape as reinforcement and escape extinction in the treatment of feeding problems

Robert H. Larue, Victoria Stewart, Cathleen C. Piazza, Valerie M. Volkert, Meeta R. Patel, Jason Zeleny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Given the effectiveness of putative escape extinction as treatment for feeding problems, it is surprising that little is known about the effects of escape as reinforcement for appropriate eating during treatment. In the current investigation, we examined the effectiveness of escape as reinforcement for mouth clean (a product measure of swallowing), escape as reinforcement for mouth clean plus escape extinction (EE), and EE alone as treatment for the food refusal of 5 children. Results were similar to those of previous studies, in that reinforcement alone did not result in increases in mouth clean or decreases in inappropriate behavior (e.g., Piazza, Patel, Gulotta, Sevin, & Layer, 2003). Increases in mouth clean and decreases in inappropriate behavior occurred when the therapist implemented EE independent of the presence or absence of reinforcement. Results are discussed in terms of the role of negative reinforcement in the etiology and treatment of feeding problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-735
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • escape
  • escape extinction
  • feeding disorders
  • food refusal
  • food selectivity
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • negative reinforcement
  • pediatric feeding disorders
  • transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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