CH.23 BEHAVIORAL CONTRACTS
- Behavioral contract also called a contingency contract or a performance contract is a
written agreement between 2 parities in which one or both parties agree to engage in a
specified level of a target behavior or behaviors. It also states the consequence that will
be administered contingent on the occurrence or non-occurence of the behavior
Components of a Behavioral Contract
1. Identify the target behaviors
2. Stating how the target behaviors will be measured. The ppl responsible for
implementing the behavioral contract (the contract manager or participants) must
have objective evidence of the occurrence of the target behaviors. Acceptable
methods include permanent products of the behaviors or direct observation and
documentation of the behavior by the contract manager or by an agreed-upon third
3. Stating when the behavior must be performed.
4. Identify the reinforcement or punishment contingency. The contract manager uses
positive or negative reinforcement or positive/negative punishment to help the client
perform (or refrain from) the target behavior stated in the contract.
5. Identify who will implement the contingency. It can be both parties or just one of
them to engage in specified levels of a target behavior.
Type of Behavioral Contracts
- 2 types of behavioral contracts: one-party and two-party contracts.
- One party contract is also called a unilateral contract, one person seeks to change a target
behavior and arranges reinforcement or punishment contingencies with a contract
manager, who implements the contingencies.
- A one-party contract is used when the person wants to increase desirable behaviors
(exercise, studying, good eating habits, etc.) or decrease undesirable behaviors (over-eating,
nail-biting, excessive tv watching, etc.). anyone can be the contract manager
- Contract manager must not stand to gain from the contract contingencies
- Two party contract or bilateral contract where both parties identify target behaviors for
change and the contingencies that will be implemented for the target behaviors.
- Jacobson and Margolin called this a quid pro quo contract (one thing is given in return for
another). Problems may arise if one party fails to perform the behavior identified in the contract. Problem of not performing the behavior identified in the contract can be avoided
if a separate contingency is established for each person’s target behaviors rather than
making one person’s target behavior the consequence for the other person’s target
- Parallel contract is a contract where the contingency of the target behaviors for