This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Matching Analyses as an Evaluative Tool: Characterizing Behavior in Juvenile Residential Settings




Luna, Odessa

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




These studies aimed to use the generalized matching equation, a quantitative model of choice-making behavior, to interpret the interactions between adjudicated adolescents and direct- line staff members. In Experiment 1, the researcher and data collectors recorded the frequency in which staff members delivered attention to adjudicated adolescents (residents) and the frequency in which residents engaged in disruptive and appropriate behavior in a juvenile residential center. One factor that may influence the residents’ allocation to either disruptive and appropriate behavior may be the extent to which staff members deliver positive interactions such as praise. Therefore, in Experiment 2, the researcher conducted a series of staff trainings that aimed to increase staff members’ delivery of positive social interactions with residents. Following the completion of the staff trainings, the generalized matching equation was again used to evaluate any changes in the residents’ allocation of behavior to disruptive and appropriate behavior. The generalized matching equation revealed resident behavior allocation slightly favored disruptive behavior. In general, pre and post-staff training in two dormitories, residents’ behavior allocation revealed a pattern of behavior allocation in which residents engaged in more instances of behavior based on the reinforcers (staff attention delivery) available. Staff training had slight effects on increasing staff members’ delivery of praise and altering resident allocation of behavior. These data from the generalized matching equation suggest a staff training intervention may indirectly influence resident behavior allocation in juvenile residential settings.