The results of functional analyses suggested that the destructive behavior of two individuals was sensitive to escape and attention as reinforcement. In an instructional context, we evaluated the effects of reinforcing compliance with functional reinforcers when destructive behavior produced a break. For one participant we also evaluated the effects of reinforcing compliance with functional reinforcers when destructive behavior produced no differential consequence (escape extinction). We hypothesized that destructive behavior failed to decrease in an instructional context when compliance resulted in a break because presentation of a break evoked attention-maintained destructive behavior. The results of a reinforcer assessment supported this hypothesis by demonstrating that demands functioned as positive reinforcement when no alternative activities were available. These results are discussed in terms of the importance of establishing operations in determining the appetitive or aversive properties of stimuli when destructive behavior is multiply controlled.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Clinical Psychology