The impact of independent versus interdependent contingencies on the attitude and behavior of members of two school clubs

Rice, Horace R., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Beard, Richard L., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Gansneder, Bruce, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Behavior modification techniques have been utilized in studies to reduce aggressive-disruptive classroom behavior. While these studies generally investigate no more than three classes of disruptive behavior in each design, this study used a multipleanalysis approach to investigate not only behavior but attitude, with a statistical analysis of seven subclasses of attitude and seven subclasses of behavior.

The impact of independent artd interdependent group-oriented contingencies on the aggressive-disruptive attitudes and behaviors of fifth-graders was studied. Fifty-two subjects, comprising two classes in an elementary school, were randomly assigned to two school martial arts clubs and encouraged to reduce their aggressive-disruptive behavior with the use of group contingencies. Karate, gymnastics and equestrian lessons were available to students contingent on low aggressive-disruptive behavior. Each subject was encouraged to reduce the level of aggressive-disruptive behavior. The independent group could work for the free lessons on an individual basis while the interdependent group had to work together for the reward, an "all or none" situation.

Seven subclasses of attitude and behavior aggression were studied. They included Assault, Indirect Hostility, Irritability, Resentment, Suspicion, Verbal Hostility, and Negativism. Teacher observers recorded the behaviors of the subjects for one week of pretest and one week of posttest. The Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory was administered to both groups during pretest week and at the end of posttest week.

Five subclasses of attitude hostility were reduced in the independent group and four were reduced in the interdependent group. Five behavior subclasses were reduced for each contingency group. However, the independent group had a significant reduction on only four attitude subclasses which compared to four for the interdependent group from pretest to posttest. The independent group had a significant education in only one of seven behavior subclasses, while the interdependent group had a significant reduction in only two of seven subclasses from pre to post.

The results indicated that independent and interdependent group-oriented contingencies were effective in reducing some subclasses of aggression and ineffective in reducing other subclasses. The reward contingency had different effects on different subclasses within the groups. The results suggest that (a) both contingencies can be effective in reducing aggressive-disruptive behavior, (b) attitude change and behavior change are possible with the group-oriented techniques, and (c) teachers in a classroom setting can obtain reliable observational records and carry out experimental manipulations successfully using resources available in the school and community.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
Behavior modification, Clubs, Attitude (Psychology)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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