Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Brad A. Dufrene

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Heather E. Sterling

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Joe Olmi

Committee Member 3 Department



Problem behaviors occur frequently among preschool children in classrooms, impeding academic development. Past methods employed for development of behavioral interventions include functional assessment and use of evidence-based practices. The current investigation sought to empirically compare the effectiveness of both function-based and non-function-based interventions to increase appropriate engagement and decrease occurrence of problem behaviors. Participants included three preschool children, two attending pre-kindergarten classrooms at an elementary school and one at a Head Start Center. Differential reinforcement of alternative behavior was used as the function-based intervention and was compared to a token economy intervention in an Alternating Treatments Design. Results indicated that the function-based intervention was more effective for two of the three participants and equally effective for the third participant. These results suggest that the treatment utility of functional assessment procedures may make the time needed for assessment worthwhile.

Doctoral dissertation: