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14 Apr 2012
Behavioral Contracts
Chapter 23
Token economy is a procedure through which reinforcement and punishment contingencies can be
applied systematically to manage the behavior of clients in a structured treatment environment
Behavioral contract is another procedure used to apply reinforcement and punishment contingencies
to help people manage their own behavior
Examples of Behavioral Contracting
[Getting Steve to Complete His Dissertation]
Steve graduate student completed his course work but not finished writing his dissertation
Told himself to write the papers after work but found something else to do instead
Steve went to a psychological clinic to see a psychologist
1. Steve set some reasonable goals for himself (9pages a week, 1 page/weekday and
2. To document that he had written the nine pages, Steve agreed to bring typed pages to his
meeting ever week with psychologist
3. Next, Steve had to agree on a reinforcement contingency that would motivate him to write
the 9 pages per week Steve had a collection of vintage jazz albums he cherished, if he
had not written his 9 pages he had to give one of his album to university
This is negative reinforcement contingency b/c by writing the nine pages and showing psychologist,
Steve avoids the aversive event (giving away an album)
After they agree on the conditions, they sign a form, the contract
[Helping Dan and His Parents get along better]
Dan grew up in a small town and never got into much trouble, when he was 16 he and his friends
spend time driving around and hanging out on the main street at night
Dan was missing dinner with family, refusing to clean his room, not doing his hw regularly and argued
a lot with his parents
Dan wanted his parents to change their behavior toward him and parents wanted Dan to change his
Parents compromised that staying out until 11pm would be reasonable
Dan wanted parents to quit nagging, so the parents agreed to stop telling him to clean his room and
do his homework every day
In return, Dan agreed to do his hw after school and clean his room every 2 weeks
Defining The Behavioral Contract
Behavioral Contract (also called a contingency contract or a performance contact) is written between
two parties in which one or both parties agree to engage in a specified level of a target behavior or
Contract states the consequence that will be administered contingent on the occurrence (or
nonoccurrence of the behavior)
The contract also states the time frame of the agreement and identifies the person responsible for
administering the consequence
A contract is renegotiated and rewritten frequently so that any problems in the contract can be
Components of a Behavioral Contract
1. Identify the target behaviors
Writing a behavioral contract is to define clearly the target behaviors involved
Stated in clear, objective terms
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