The use of operant behavior principles by husbands for the modification of wives' behavior

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
George Melvin Palmer (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Harold J. Mahoney

Abstract: The study investigated husbands' use of praise and ignore to modify pinpointed wives' behaviors. The tested hypothesis was: Husbands can apply behavior principles successfully within the marriage setting for the modification of the wives' behaviors in the desired direction as specified a priori to the experiment. Four husbands, ranging in age from 23 to 31 and in educational achievement from one year of college to college degree, contacted the experimenter for marriage counseling. Two subjects pinpointed bitching behavior for modification, one pinpointed keeping an untidy kitchen, and the fourth pinpointed excessive telephoning. Husbands were trained in observation and data keeping with an edited film depicting positive and negative marital interactions, and by role playing with a female assistant. They also were trained in the application of contingent praise and ignore. Data were collected from the husbands each weekday by telephone. The hypothesis was tested with three single subject designs. For the first subject (pinpointed bitching behavior) a 2-week baseline was followed by one week of noncontingent praise after which came two weeks of contingent praise and ignore. For the second subject (also bitching behavior) a 2-week baseline was followed by three weeks of contingent praise and ignore.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1974
Operant conditioning
Behavior modification
Marriage counseling

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