1. Briefly discuss the operational definition of your target behavior and whether you would like to increase or decrease the frequency of this behavior.
2. What is maintaining the target behavior excess or deficit you identified? Can you think of anything that motivates you to either not engage in or to increase the frequency of the target behavior?
3. How do you think the target behavior was initially learned (i.e., operant versus respondent conditioning)? Please support your choice with references and additional literature.
4. What are your current ideas for modifying the behavior? How do you plan to increase a behavioral deficit or decrease a behavioral excess? Considering the target behavior identified, what type of ethical issues might arise that you should consider?
5. Provide a realistic assessment of how effective you think you will be when attempting to modify the target behavior. Be sure to address the overall frequency and severity of the behavior.
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The aim of the present paper was to explore the potential self-treatment by using the differential reinforcement of other behavior procedure with reinforcement and punishment in reducing nail biting behavior. Nail biting operational behavior definition and prevalence, as well as some potential causes and prominent theories of etiology of nail biting behavior are mentioned. Next, a behavior modification plan for nail biting behavior is presented. FBA and DRO procedure with token economy are explained and connected to nail biting in the present case. Finally, some ethical issues concerning self-administered DRO procedure are discussed as well as expected timeline for target behavior change.
Key words: nail biting, DRO, differential reinforcement of other behavior
The target behavior discussed in this paper is nail-biting. The habitual nail biting behavior is very common in children and adolescents (Christmann & Sommer, 1976) and, in some cases, it can continue into adulthood (Ballinger, 1970). Nail biting prevalence is at peak during adolescence (at 45%) as it steadily increases during childhood, but after adolescence it decreases to approximately 4.5% prevalence during adulthood, with females engaging in nail biting more than males (Ballinger, 1970). Nail biting is usually a mere nuisance and does not cause impairment, but in most severe cases it can lead to more serious medical issues, such as tissue damage, skin infections or root damage to the individual’s teeth, or social issues, such as increased self-consciousness (Silber & Haynes, 1992).
The operational definition of the nail-biting behavior is: any instance where an attempt was made to place one or more fingers past the plane of the lips, contacting the teeth and any instance of using hands, mouth or objects to contact a fingernail, with enough force to remove any part of the nail or skin surrounding the nail.
My goal is to put to extinction or at least maximally decrease the habitual nail biting behavior. This is important to me for several reasons. First, studies have shown that habitual nail...