On the relative contributions of positive reinforcement and escape extinction in the treatment of food refusal

Cathleen C. Piazza, Meeta R. Patel, Charles S. Gulotta, Bart M. Sevin, Stacy A. Layer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Scopus citations


We compared the effects of positive reinforcement alone, escape extinction alone, and positive reinforcement with escape extinction in the treatment of the food and fluid refusal of 4 children who had been diagnosed with a pediatric feeding disorder. Consumption did not increase when positive reinforcement was implemented alone. By contrast, consumption increased for all participants when escape extinction was implemented, independent of the presence or absence of positive reinforcement. However, the addition of positive reinforcement to escape extinction was associated with beneficial effects (e.g., greater decreases in negative vocalizations and inappropriate behavior) for some participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-324
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of applied behavior analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003



  • Escape extinction
  • Food refusal
  • Food selectivity
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Pediatric feeding disorders
  • Positive reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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