Promoting Positive and Supportive Interactions Between Preschoolers: An Analysis of Group-Oriented Contingencies

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This study examined the effects of several procedures on the social and supportive interactions of two preschoolers with handicaps and their socially competent peers. An alternating individual and group-oriented reinforcement contingency produced equal increases in the target children's interactions with peers. However, neither procedure generated consistent levels of supportive peer behaviors. Following a baseline phase where social and supportive interactions decreased to lower levels, two socially competent children were taught to deliver high levels of supportive prompts to their peers during a dramatic play activity (e.g., “Ask [target child] to come and join our picnic”). Results indicated that peers complied with these statements by increasing the frequency of social behaviors directed to the target children. A final interdependent group contingency condition maintained both social and supportive interactions at high levels. These results are discussed with regard to the efficacy of group-oriented contingencies.

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