The use of therapist rules, self rules, and contingency-shaped feedback in the treatment of social skills deficits in adults

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Irwin Shimon Rosenfarb (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Steven C. Hayes

Abstract: Skinner added an important extension to his analysis of human behavior when he discussed the concept of rule-governed behavior. Contingency-shaped behavior is behavior under the control of past consequences. Rule-governed behavior, a subset of contingency-shaped behavior, is behavior under the control of a contingency-specifying stimulus. Although most behavior therapy with verbal, outpatient adults is rule-governed, several problems exist with rule-governed strategies. In most situations, one does not know which behaviors clients should modify. In addition, the human operant literature has shown that when behavior comes under the control of rules, it is less likely to come under the control of changing contingencies. This study attempted to compare rule-governed with contingency-shaped therapy programs in the treatment of assertive skills deficits in adults. 36 adults participated in an 8-session individual treatment program. Subjects role-played situations in which they were having difficulty behaving assertively. Subjects in one group were given instructions on the behaviors necessary to change to become more assertive. Subjects in a second group developed their own rules for how to act assertively. Subjects in a third group neither were given rules nor were they asked to develop their own rules. Some subjects in each of the above three groups were also given contingency-shaped feedback after role-playing. A seventh group served as a waiting-list control.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1986
Social skills $x Research
Assertiveness training
Behavior therapy

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