Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Applied Behavior Analysis

Major Professor

Jennifer Austin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Maria dePerczel-Goodwin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darrell Bostow, Ph.D.


Coercion, Foster Parents, Foster Homes, and Coercive Family Process


Coercion within parent/child relationships can have lasting effects on the behavior

of children. The Family Safety/Applied Behavior Analysis Initiative at the University of

South Florida is part of a statewide project designed to serve foster parents and the

children in the foster care system, has developed a training program entitled .Parenting

Tools for Positive Behavior Change.. To date, the effectiveness of the parenting course

has been evaluated in two ways. First, parents have been tested in role-play situations

before and after training, and have shown improvements in their use of positive parenting

skills. Second, frequency of foster home placement disruptions has been evaluated. The

Preliminary results suggest that the parenting course was successful in decreasing the

costs associated with placement disruptions, as well as reducing the number decreasing

the costs associated with placement disruptions, as well as reducing the number of

restrictive placements. Despite the promising results thus far, research has not been

conducted to determine whether the parenting course reduces coercion in interactions

between parents and children. The present study sought to demonstrate the effectiveness

of .Parenting Tools for Positive Behavior Change. training course on the use of positive

parenting tools within the context of authentic environments (i.e., within home settings)

using parents and biological children.

Although all parent participants. appropriate responding improved during the

course of the study, results appeared more dramatic for some parents over others. In

general, the parent participants seemed to do better in decreasing coercive responses with

their child.s appropriate behaviors than their child.s inappropriate behaviors. Overall,

affect on the parent.s coercive responses to their children.s behaviors was not as dramatic

as the affect on their increase in responding appropriately to their child.s appropriate

behaviors. It seems that the increase in more appropriate responses does not necessarily

mean that this will also result in dramatic reductions in coercive responses by the parents.