Acceptability of positive and reductive behavioral interventions: Factors that influence teachers' decisions

Stephen N. Elliott, Joseph C. Witt, Gloria A. Galvin, Reece Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Treatment acceptability refers to individuals' judgments as to whether psychological treatment procedures are appropriate, fair, and reasonable for a given problem. In the present two-experiment study, experienced teachers' ratings of acceptability for positive (i.e., praise, home-based reinforcement, and token economy) and reductive (i.e., ignoring, response-cost lottery, and seclusion time-out) behavioral interventions were investigated. Using the Intervention Rating Profile (IRP) and a case study methodology to manipulate variables of intervention complexity and problem behavior severity, it was established that (a) teachers' acceptability ratings of both positive and reductive interventions varied with the severity of a target behavior, (b) the complexity of an intervention influenced teachers' ratings of acceptability, less complex or time-consuming interventions being rated generally more acceptable, and (c) mean acceptability ratings were significantly more favorable for positive than reductive treatments. These findings are discussed in the context of previous acceptability research and future investigations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of School Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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