Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Self-Management Interventions in Single-Case Research

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Meta-Analysis of Behavioral Self-Management Interventions in Single-Case Research

Article excerpt

Psychological studies dating back to the 1950s relied on the use of self-recorded data to obtain the most accurate record of private behaviors (e.g., calories consumed, cigarettes smoked), with no mention made of the potential for reactivity (e.g., Stollak, 1967). However, in the late 1960s, researchers began to acknowledge and discuss the fact that simply asking participants to record aspects of their own behavior may result in behavioral changes above and beyond those anticipated as the result of treatment (McFall, 1970; Webb, Campbell, Schwartz, & Sechrest, 1966). It was not long before this process of observing and recording one's own behavior was adapted for intervention use and came to be known as self-monitoring. In one of the first studies that brought self-monitoring procedures into school settings, students were taught to tally the number of times they verbally participated in class in an attempt to increase this behavior (Gottman & McFall, 1972). Behavioral improvements were particularly notable given the simplicity of the procedures, with students simply turning in their recording slips at the end of the period with no further discussion or debriefing. Self-monitoring may be effective in changing behavior because the prompts to self-monitor may serve as cues to perform the desired behavior (Cole & Bambara, 1992; Reid, 1996), or the simple act of paying more attention to one's behavior may produce a reactivity effect (Nelson & Hayes, 1981).

Although many researchers have maintained the simplicity inherent in the earliest studies of school-based self-monitoring by simply teaching students to observe and record their own behavior (e.g., Boyle & Hughes, 1994; Levendoski & Cartledge, 2000), numerous other studies have incorporated additional intervention components to establish more comprehensive self-management packages (Fantuzzo, Rohrbeck, & Azar, 1987). The term manage means to "work upon or try to alter for a purpose" (Merriam Webster, 2014), and therefore self-management interventions can be conceptualized as those interventions in which students play a more active role in behavior modification (e.g., setting goals, monitoring behavior over time). Kanfer (1970) proposed a tripartite model of self-management, in which an individual first engages in self-observation, then self-evaluates by comparing the observation with some goal or performance standard, and finally provides self-reinforcement if and when current behavior meets or exceeds the established goal or standard. In this way, students actively work to shape their behavior over time.

Over the past 40 years, teaching students self-management strategies has been shown to successfully improve the behavior of a wide range of students, from those students without exceptionalities (e.g., Hughes & Hendrickson, 1987) to those with specific learning (e.g., Dalton, Martella, & Marchand-Martella, 1999) and developmental disabilities (e.g., Holifield, Goodman, Hazelkorn, & Heflin, 2010). Self-monitoring and self-management procedures also improved a range of classroom behavior variables including student engagement (e.g., Wood, Murdock, Cronin, Dawson, & Kirby, 1998), disruptive behavior (e.g., Stage & Quiroz, 1997), and even appropriate interactions with peers (e.g., Strain, Kohler, Storey, & Danko, 1994). Unfortunately, the fact that various intervention configurations have been used across the self-management literature to target a range of students and behaviors has meant that little is known regarding what works best and with whom (Briesch & Chafouleas, 2009). It is therefore, unsurprising that several researchers have attempted to review and summarize this literature in recent decades to bring forth recommendations for applied use and future research directions.

Several descriptive (i.e., systematic, nonquantitative) reviews have helped to underscore the diversity of the literature on self-management interventions. …

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