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Ep. 90- Contingency management- A scalable ABA

show notes Aug 31, 2023

Resources mentioned in this episode

  1. 2 CEU course on Solving Clinical Challenges with Research-
  2. DeFulio et al., 2023-

Please contact Matt @ [email protected] if you have any questions or if you need help accessing the full article!

Full Transcript (Click for downloadable copy)

The following blog post was written by Chat GPT after providing the full transcript and requesting an accompanying blog post. For more information about why and how I use Chat GPT, please see this accompanying blog post -> Why I use Chat GPT for my Show Notes (

The Behaviorist Book Club: Unpacking the Power of Contingency Management for Behavior Change

Welcome to the Behaviorist Book Club, a community of curious minds dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of behavior change. I'm your host, Matt Harrington, and in today's podcast, we're diving into an intriguing study that explores the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a smartphone-based contingency management intervention for buprenorphine adherence. Don't worry if some of those terms sound like a foreign language right now – by the end of this episode, you'll have a clear understanding of how this research is shaping the future of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and its potential impact on society.

What's Contingency Management Anyway?

Let's start by demystifying the concept of contingency management. Imagine a system where desirable behaviors are rewarded with positive reinforcements, like earning money for sticking to your goals. It's like a personal achievement system with a real-world incentive – the more you engage in the desired behavior, the more rewards you earn. This approach, often backed by cold, hard cash, has been proven effective in addressing challenges like smoking cessation, medication adherence, and even relationship-building.

Scaling ABA: From Individual to Society

Contingency management isn't just about individual behavior change – it has the potential to revolutionize public policy. Consider this: by reallocating funds to support behavior change interventions, we could reduce the strain on public resources caused by addiction-related hospitalizations and other costly consequences. While shifting this mindset is no small feat, studies like the one we're discussing pave the way for evidence-based solutions that can benefit not only individuals but society as a whole.

A Deep Dive into the Study

In the study, participants were individuals undergoing addiction treatment. The goal was to improve adherence to buprenorphine medication, a key element in addiction recovery. Participants were incentivized with monetary rewards for adhering to their prescribed regimen and submitting samples – a creative approach to promoting medication adherence.

Surprisingly, even though the focus was on medication adherence, many participants reported improved sobriety as well. This sheds light on the interconnectedness of behaviors and the potential for broad behavior change through contingency management.

The Power of Accountability and Support

What sets this study apart is its holistic approach. Participants not only received financial rewards but also had access to a peer recovery coach and mental health services. This comprehensive support system acknowledges the complexity of addiction and the importance of addressing various aspects of an individual's well-being to achieve lasting change.

The Bigger Picture: Applying Contingency Management in ABA

As behavior analysts, you might be wondering how this relates to your work. While the study focuses on addiction recovery, the principles of contingency management can be adapted to various contexts, including early intervention and caregiver training. It offers a valuable tool to shift away from trial-and-error methods and embrace a more holistic, environment-focused approach.

Embracing a New Paradigm

Contingency management isn't just about reinforcing behavior; it's about reinforcing hope and transformation. By redirecting resources toward early interventions and behavior change programs, we can empower individuals to overcome challenges, redefine their futures, and reduce the burden on public resources. It's a paradigm shift that requires collaboration, open-mindedness, and a commitment to evidence-based practice.

Join the Conversation

The Behaviorist Book Club isn't just a podcast; it's a movement aimed at sparking discussions, igniting curiosity, and driving change. We encourage you to join the ABA Cafe Facebook group, a vibrant community of practitioners who share a passion for research-driven behavior analysis. Your engagement, comments, and feedback help elevate this dialogue and ensure that we continue to explore the frontiers of behavior change.

In Conclusion

The Behaviorist Book Club podcast has brought us a thought-provoking exploration of contingency management and its potential to reshape behavior change and public policy. As we reflect on the power of rewards, accountability, and comprehensive support, let's remember that every behavior is a puzzle piece in the larger tapestry of transformation. By understanding and applying these principles, we can create a world where positive change is not just a possibility but a reality. Thank you for joining us, and we look forward to sharing more insights and discoveries with you in the next episode.

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