Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Effects of Treatment on Disruptive Behaviors: A Quantitative Synthesis of Single-Subject Researches Using the PEM Approach

Academic journal article The Behavior Analyst Today

Effects of Treatment on Disruptive Behaviors: A Quantitative Synthesis of Single-Subject Researches Using the PEM Approach

Article excerpt

Meta-analysis provides a quantitative method to reach a certain conclusion by integrating relevant studies on a theoretical issue. Because the data of successive measurements over time in single-case experimental designs usually violate the assumptions of parametric statistics, especially that of homogeneity and independence of residuals, it is not appropriate to adopt methods used in conventional meta-analysis for between-group research. Mastropieri and Scruggs (1985-86) took a nonparametric approach, percentage of non-overlapping data (PND), to calculate the effect size for intra-subject research. Ma (2006) discussed the advantages and drawbacks of the PND and proposed an alternative method, the percentage of data points exceeding the median (PEM), to improve the shortcomings of the PND. Using original authors' judgment, i,e, the judgment of the author(s) of each located study, on the effectiveness of treatment as a validity criterion, the PEM approach had demonstrated a higher Spearman correlation with original authors judgment than the PND approach did. And this result was confirmed by Gao and Ma (2006).

Scruggs et al. (1986, p.262) suggested a criterion to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment according to the PND scores: (a) highly effective when the score is above .90, (b) moderately effective when the score is between .70 and .90, (c) mildly (or questionable) effective in cases with scores between .50 and .70, and lastly, (d) ineffective, when the score is below .50. However, during coding, it was difficult to differentiate between moderately and mildly or questionable in the visual judgment of the effectiveness of treatment based on the curve change in the baseline and treatment phases. Ma (2006) and Gao and Ma (2006) incorporated "mildly (or questionable) effective" into "not effective." Hence these categories of effectiveness were coded: (a) highly effective, which was coded as 2, with core higher than .90, (b) moderately effective (coded as 1) with score equal to or higher than .70 but lower than .90, and (c) questionable or not effective (coded as 0) with score lower than .70. In the present study the authors try to incorporate "mildly (or questionable) effective" into "moderately effective" to form three categories: (a) highly effective with score above .90 (coded as 2), (b) partially effective including moderately and mildly (or questionable) effective (coded as 1) with score equal or greater than .50 but less than .90, and (c) ineffective (coded as 0) score less than .50, and to examine whether the superiority of validity of PEM approach over PND approach still sustains.

Although some disruptive behaviors are not life threatening or excessively severe, they are considered to be problematic by participants' teachers, parents, caregivers and dentists since disruptive behaviors prevent participant participation in instructional activities, family routines, and high-quality dental treatment. In the present synthesis, disruptive behavior is defined as "An excessive behavior that can interfere with the general activities proceeding at the time."

Disruptive behavior is a common problem in educational settings. Scholars have noted that disruptive behavior is closely related to less academic engagement, low grades, and a poor performance on standardized tests (Bailey, Wolf, & Philips, 1970, p.223; Stage & Quiroz, 1997, p.333). Moreover, Ramp, Ulrich, and Dulaney (1971, p.235) indicated that many teachers have had to devise their classroom management techniques through experience, because public education has long lacked effective principles to aid teachers. Therefore, the development and implementation of effective and acceptable interventions for students who exhibit disruption in schools is an important educational problem (Wilkinson, 1997).

The present study uses the PEM approach to synthesize the effectiveness of treatment of disruptive behaviors and simultaneously tests whether the higher validity of the PEM approach than that of the PND approach is repeatable. …

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