Date of Graduation
The present study involved an examination of cost-effectiveness analysis of two types of back-up reinforcers (high-cost, low-cost) in a token economy program. Subjects were ten adult institutionalized retarded females who earned tokens for completion of three unit management and three recreation target behaviors. Tokens were redeemable for one of two types of back-up reinforcers, either high-cost or low-cost reinforcers. Classification of reinforcers into one of the two types was primarily related to whether or not they involved a monetary expenditure that was frequent and necessitated fiscal programmatic planning. The experimental design utilized was a reversal design with subjects divided into two equal groups in which the two treatments (token program with high-cost reinforcers and token program with low-cost reinforcers) were administered with baseline interspersed and counter-balanced for sequence effects. Treatment costs for the two experimental reinforcement conditions were separated into direct and indirect maintenance costs, and combined costs. Results indicated that in terms of mean percentages of completed target behaviors, that the low-cost reinforcement condition was, by a small margin, the more effective of the two reinforcing conditions for producing a gain over baseline conditions. For direct, indirect, and combined cost measures the low-cost reinforcement condition was also the least costly of the two reinforcing conditions. Cost-effectiveness analysis by cost-effectiveness ratios and cost-effectiveness matrix indicated that for most of the situations examined the low-cost reinforcement condition was the more cost-effective of the two reinforcement conditions. The relatively greater overall cost-effectiveness of low-cost reinforcers utilized in this study indicates the possibility that similar reinforcers used in other programs could result in noticeable cost savings over the high-cost reinforcers typically found in token stores as back-up reinforcers in token economy programs. Cost-effectiveness analysis was demonstrated to be a relevant and useful method of program evaluation of token economy programs.
Lombardi, David Andre, "Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Of Back-Up Reinforcers In A Token Economy." (1982). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9318.