Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Special Education and Rehabilitation


Thomas S. Higbee


Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) have very poor long-term outcomes. Non-contingent reinforcement (NCR) has been used to successfully reduce problem behaviors. NCR is frequently used with populations with severe disabilities and in hospital settings using function based reinforcers. Very few studies have applied the use of NCR to EBD populations, and to students whose cognitive scores fall within the normal range. No studies have examined the use of preferred tangible reinforcers delivered non-contingently with participants with EBD or in classroom settings. This study measured the effects of delivering tangible reinforcers selected through preference assessments on the disruptive and on-task behaviors of three students with EBD in the classroom setting. Results indicate the use of preferred tangibles delivered on a fixed-schedule can be effective in reducing disruptive behavior in the classroom without reducing on-task behaviors, and may, in fact, be effective in increasing on-task behaviors in the classroom.