Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Andrew Samaha, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kwang-Sun Blair, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nicole Hanney, Ph.D.


Release Contingencies, Bout Analysis, Bout, Reinforcement, Problem behavior, Treatment


Problem behavior is a concern for individuals with developmental disabilities. Research suggests that a release contingency time-out is effective to reduce problem behavior, but may increase the duration of time-out. Other sources recommend including a release contingency to avoid reinforcing problem behavior. It is possible clinicians generalize this concept to other domains, such as differential reinforcement with discrete-trial-training. Such a modification may be conceptualized as a tandem ratio requirement. Evidence from basic literature suggests that a tandem ratio requirement may increase a bout of responding. The current study examined effects of applied behavior analytic procedures using a bout analysis. The purpose was to identify a best-practice recommendation for clinicians to use when patterns of bout-like responding are evident, in order to efficiently decrease the duration of a bout. Three children with ASD participated. Results showed that release contingencies influenced bout-like responding in two participants. Social validity was assessed on the feasibility, efficacy, and likeability of the study. Social validity measures indicated the study had appreciable effects on problem behavior.