Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Brad Dufrene

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Daniel Tingstrom

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Heather Sterling

Committee Member 3 Department



The research literature suggests that functional assessment and differential reinforcement methods are effective for decreasing an array of problem behaviors. However, research is limited in the number of studies including children of typical development exhibiting common problem behaviors (e.g., inappropriate vocalization, off-task behavior) in a general education setting. In addition, previous studies have failed to report data regarding increases in appropriate replacement behaviors. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relative effectiveness of differential reinforcement of other behavior (DRO) and differential reinforcement on alternative behavior (DRA) for decreasing problem behavior and increasing academically engaged behavior with elementary-age students of typical development in a general education setting. Participants included two elementary-age students receiving general education instruction. Following a functional behavior assessment, the relative effectiveness of DRO and DRA was evaluated using an alternating treatments design (ATD). Results suggest that both DRO and DRA are effective for decreasing problem behavior and increasing academic engagement, with DRO being more effective for one participant and DRA being more effective for the other.