Increasing Generalization of Staff Interactions Through Posted Group Feedback, Individual Feedback, and Social Praise
Breeding, Philip J.
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The problem. Staff in institutions have been trained to interact appropriately with residents during free time through feedback on their performance, but the feedback effects have not been found to generalize outside the training session. The present study sought to increase the generalization of appropriate staff-resident interactions outside the training session. Procedure. Time-sample observations of staff-resident interactions were made twice each day in a large day hall in a state institution for the retarded, during a one-hour session and a 30-min. generalization check. The data collected were the percent of time-samples staff interacted appropriately and the percent of time-samples staff interacted with different residents. Following baseline posted group feedback and individual feedback and praise were given at the end of the session first on the percent of time-samples staff interacted appropriately and then on both this percentage and the percent of time-samples staff interacted with different residents. After a reversal to baseline the session was extended to three hours, and the presence of the observer was changed from continuous to intermittent. Feedback on both percentages was re-implemented following a short baseline. Findings. The feedback procedure was effective in producing a large increase in appropriate staff-resident interactions in the one-hour session and a moderate increase in the three-hour session. Increasing the behavior of the staff in the session did not result in a concomitant increase during the generalization checks. Conclusions. The failure of the behavior change to generalize outside the session limits the usefulness of feedback as a practical means of training staff. However, use of the procedure in a spot-check fashion should provide for increased staff behavior throughout the day with a minimum of cost in terms of time spent monitoring.
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