Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior (DRO)

Study: Flood & Wilder (2004)

Study Type: Single-Subject Design

Participants: Convincing Evidence

Risk Status: The participant was reported to meet all DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994) criteria for both diagnoses and was reported to engage in crying, screaming, and pleading upon mention of a separation from a parent, which was deemed to be age-inappropriate.



Age/ Grade



Socioeconomic status

Disability Status

ELL status

Other Relevant Descriptive Characteristics

Case 1: George

11 years old


Not reported

Not reported

No disability (“developmentally normal”)

Not reported

At the time of the study, George had rarely been separated from both caregivers other than to go to school. He took Tofranil for several months prior to the study and continued to take it at a constant dose throughout the study. George was of average intelligence (Flood & Wilder, 2004).

Training of Instructors: The experimenters implemented the intervention, but did not report background or training information.

Design: Convincing Evidence

Does the study include three data points or sufficient number to document a stable performance within that phase? Yes

Is there opportunity for at least three demonstrations of experimental control? Yes

If the study is an alternating treatment design, are there five repetitions of the alternating sequence? Not applicable

If the study is a multiple baseline, is it concurrent? Not applicable

Implemented with Fidelity: Unconvincing Evidence

Description of when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Fidelity of treatment data were not reported.

Results on the fidelity of treatment implementation measure: Fidelity of treatment data were not reported.

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure

Reliability statistics

Relevance to program focus

Exposure to related support among control group

Minutes without emotional behavior

Interobserver agreement was calculated during 100% of sessions. An agreement was defined as both observers scoring an instance of emotional behavior within 5 seconds of each other. Agreement was calculated by dividing the number of agreements by the sum of agreements and disagreements and multiplying by 100. Agreement was 100%.

Given the age-inappropriateness of screaming, crying, and pleading under circumstances of separation from a parent, these behaviors are considered relevant to the program’s focus.



Broader Measure

Reliability statistics

Relevance to program focus

Exposure to related support among control group






Mean ES Targeted Outcomes: N/A

Mean ES Administrative Outcomes: N/A

Effect Size:

Visual Analysis (Single-Subject Designs): Convincing Evidence

Description of the method of analyses used to determine whether the intervention condition improved relative to baseline phase (e.g. visual analysis, computation of change score, mean difference): Visual inspection.

Results in terms of within and between phase patterns: During baseline, latency to emotional behavior was 0 across all three sessions. When the first criterion was introduced, latency increased to match criterion. Although numbers of sessions within each criterion condition varied, latency increased to match criterion immediately and consistently across criterion increases and remained stable within conditions (with the exception of the final condition). During one criterion condition, criterion was decreased significantly rather than increased. Latency immediately dropped in level to match criterion and remained stable at criterion level. During the final condition (90 min criterion), latency was variable (range, approximately 35 min to 90 min), although latency remained much higher than in baseline conditions.

Disaggregated Outcome Data Available for Demographic Subgroups: No

Target Behavior(s): Externalizing

Delivery: Individual, Small groups (n<6)

Fidelity of Implementation Check List Available: No

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Paraprofessional, No training required

Intervention Reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse: No

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 6 studies

Call, N. A., Pabico, R. S., Findley, A. J., & Valentino, A. L. (2011). Differential Reinforcement with and without Blocking as Treatment for Elopement. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 44, 903-907.

Conyers, C., Miltenberger, R. G., Maki, A., Barenz, R., Jurgens, M., Sailer, A., & Kopp, B. (2004). A Comparison of Response Cost and Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior to Reduce Disruptive Behavior in a Preschool Classroom. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 37, 411-415.

Foxx, R. M., McMorrow, M. J., Fenlon, S., & Bittle, R. G. (1986). The Reductive Effects of Reinforcement Procedures on the Genital Stimulation and Stereotypy of a Mentally Retarded Adolescent Male. Analysis & Intervention in Developmental Disabilities, 6, 239-248.

Grauvogel-MacAaleese, A., & Wallace, M. D. (2010). Use of Peer-Mediated Intervention in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43, 547-551.

Himle, M. B., Woods, D. W., & Bunaciu, L. (2008). Evaluating the Role of Contingency in Differentially Reinforced Tic Suppression. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 41, 285-289.

Luiselli, J. K., Helfen, C. S., Colozzi, G., Donellon, S., & Pemberton, B. (1978). Controlling Self-Inflicted Biting of a Retarded Child by the Differential Reinforcement of Other Behavior. Psychological Reports, 42, 435-438.