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A META-ANALYSIS OF INTERVENTIONS TO DECREASE

DISRUPTIVE CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR IN PUBLIC EDUCATION


SETTINGS
Abstract: We conducted a meta-analysis of 99 studies that used interventions to decrease disruptive
classroom behavior in public education settings. Due to the predominance of single-subject studies, we used
the Interrupted Time Series Autocorrelation program (ITSACORR; Crosbie, 1993) which yielded a t statistic
that was transformed into an effect size. A total of 223 effect sizes yielded a mean effect size of-.78, indicating
that, on average, 78% of the treated students reduced their disruptive behavior compared to nontreated
students. We found that studies using teacher rating scales were less likely to evidence reductions in disruptive
classroom behaviors compared to studies using behavioral observation methodologies. We also found that
students treated in serf-contained classrooms were more likely to evidence a reduction in disruptive classroom
behavior compared to students treated in regular classroom settings. With the exclusion of studies using
teacher rating scales, comparison of treatment interventions showed no statistically reliable differences due to
the large variability in the relative effectiveness for students treated. Overall, results indicate that interventions
to reduce disruptive classroom behavior yield comparable results to other meta-analytic studies investigating
the effectiveness of psychotherapy for children and adolescents. This indicates that there are efficacious
treatments used in public education settings to to decrease disruptive classroom behaviors.
Research has shown that well-established disruptive behavioral patterns during early school years dramatically
increase the risk for later antisocial behavior (Huesmann, Eron, Lefkowitz, & Walder, 1984; McCord, 1991;
Robins, 1966; Tremblay, Pihl, Vitaro, & Dobkin, 1994). Furthermore, disruptive behavior within the classroom
setting is predictive of less academic engagement time, lower grades, and a poor performance on
standardized tests (Shinn, Ramsey, Walker, Stieber, & O'Neill, 1987; Swift & Spivack, 1969; Wentzel, 1993).
Teachers rate disruptive classroom behavior as unacceptable and indicate that it places the student at risk for
failure in any classroom setting (Kauffman, Wong, Lloyd, Hung, & Pullen, 1991). Given that many teachers
report a lack of training in techniques to manage disruptive behavior (Kauffman & Wong, 1991), school
psychologists are apt to be called for consultation. The typical school psychologist, who spends about 16% of
her/his time in problem-solving consultation (Reschly & Wilson, 1995), might deliberate about which type of
intervention to recommend.

A school psychologist who examines the research on interventions for disruptive behavior in the classroom,
however, may find the literature more confusing than helpful in making her/his decision. Different methods and
varied research populations and settings make it difficult to determine which interventions are more effective at
reducing disruptive behavior in the public education classroom and whether we can be confident that widely
used interventions are, in fact, effective in our schools. The purpose of this study was to separate the myth that
disruptive classroom behavior cannot be effectively managed in public education settings from the reality that
interventions to reduce disruptive behavior are effective. Our rationale was to provide a quantitative analysis of
interventions designed to decrease disruptive classroom behavior and to communicate the results in a form
useful to school psychologists practicing in public education settings. We hoped to demonstrate that
interventions that are widely used in public school do, in fact, reduce disruptive behavior to a degree
comparable with other psychotherapy interventions used with children and adolescents (e.g., Casey & Berman,
1985; Kazdin, Bass, Ayers, & Rodgers, 1990; Prout & DeMartino, 1986; Weisz, Weiss, Han, Granger, &
Morton, 1995). In addition, we wanted to test the relative effectiveness of the different interventions as well as
to identify differences in student population characteristics and classroom settings that might impact an
intervention's effectiveness. The remainder of this introduction provides a review of the most prevalent
interventions and a review of meta-analytic studies and issues encountered in this type of research.

Behavioral Interventions
The earliest behavioral interventions used teacher behavior in the form of social approval, disapproval, and
ignoring to shape students' classroom behavior (Becker, Madsen, Arnold, & Thomas, 1967; Madsen, Becker, &
Thomas, 1968). However, some research suggested that teacher behavior alone was insufficient to reduce
disruptive classroom behavior, but that the use of a token economy that provided concrete rewards for
students who behaved appropriately was effective (e.g., O'Leary, Becker, Evans, & Saudargas, 1969). Initially,
token economies were used to reward appropriate behavior while ignoring inappropriate behavior. Additional
research demonstrated, however, that positive reinforcement and response cost procedures that result in
revoking tokens for misbehavior were equally effective (e.g., Kaufman & O'Leary, 1972; Walker, Hops, &
Fiegenbaum, 1976).

Punishment procedures such as timeout and overcorrection also have been used to decrease disruptive
behavior. Isolation timeout--the removal of the student from the classroom to a secluded room--has typically
been used with students with severe disorders (e.g., Costenbader & ReadingBrown, 1995; Drabman &
Spitalnik, 1973). It has been considered a controversial procedure prone to abuse (Harris, 1985). Yet, it also
has been used extensively in the management of disruptive behaviors of students with behavioral disabilities in
public education settings (Zabel, 1986). Overcorrection is a combined procedure that requires the disrupter to
restore the environment to its original state and then practice the correct behavior (Foxx, 1978). In the case in
which no environmental disruption has occurred, only the positive practice portion of the procedure is used.
Positive practice has been used successfully with students with severe emotional disorders to eliminate
disruptive classroom behavior (Azrin & Powers, 1975).

Another behavioral technique used to decrease disruptive behavior is differential reinforcement (Deitz & Repp,
1983). The differential reinforcement of low rates of responding (i.e., DRL) procedure provides positive
reinforcement for the student contingent on a preset limit of disruptive behaviors per a specified time interval.
The differential reinforcement for behavior omission (i.e., DRO) procedure provides reinforcement to the
student contingent upon the absence of a disruptive behavior during a specified time interval. Teachers rate
differential reinforcement procedures most favorably in comparison to other interventions used to decrease
disruptive behavior (Irvin & Lundervold, 1988), and it has been shown to be effective (Deitz & Repp, 1983).

Group contingencies operate similarly to token economies and response cost procedures except that group
membership parameters determine reinforcement or response cost. There are three different types of group
contingency procedures: interdependent, dependent, and independent (Litow & Pumroy, 1975).
Interdependent group contingencies require the group to perform to a specific standard. It is interdependent
because each member contributes his or her points toward the group criterion. Dependent group contingencies
require selected group members to perform to a specific standard. It is dependent because the contingency for
the entire group is determined by the behavior of the selected group members. Independent group
contingencies require each student in the group to perform to a set criterion. It is independent because
reinforcement is not dependent upon the behavior of other group members. Research findings suggest that
group contingency management and individual contingency management equally achieve reductions in
disruptive classroom behavior (Axelrod, 1973; Rosenbaum, O'Leary, & Jacob, 1975). However, because group
contingencies require less time for teacher management, they may be preferred.

Another intervention widely used to manage student behavior is home-based contingencies. Teachers use
weekly or daily report cards to notify parents of their children's behavior (Barth, 1979). This type of intervention
evolved as an effective intervention from research findings that teachers often failed to maintain behavioral
contingencies in the classroom or simply refused to use them (e.g., Patterson, 1974; Walker & Buckley, 1972).
In a descriptive review of studies using home-based contingencies, it was reported that this type of intervention
was effective in the management of many student behaviors (Barth, 1979).

Recently, the focus of research has moved from the management of consequences to the control of disruptive
behavior to the use of functional assessment of behavior and control of events in the environment to increase
socially appropriate behavior. Changing events in the environment thought to precede a disruptive behavior
may increase the likelihood that a socially appropriate behavior will occur instead of the disruptive behavior.
This has been used effectively with students who have developmental delays (Carr & Durand, 1985). In a
related procedure known as stimulus cueing, the teacher neutrally "cues" the student (e.g., placing a mark on
the chalkboard) when the disruptive behavior occurs, allowing the student the opportunity to replace the
disruptive behavior with appropriate behavior. Stimulus cueing has been demonstrated to be effective in the
reduction of disruptive behavior (e.g., Lobitz, 1974).

Finally, because the external management interventions described above do not teach students how to
manage their own behavior, self-management interventions have become more prevalent (e.g., Shapiro &
Cole, 1994). Self-management interventions comprise interventions that rely on self-monitoring, self-
evaluation, self-reinforcement, and self-instructional training (Cole & Bambara, 1992). Because self-
instructional training relies on the organization of the student's cognitive processes, it is described in the next
section. Several quantitative reviews suggest that self-management strategies are more effective in student
behavior management than are teacher-mediated interventions (Fantuzzo & Polite, 1990; Fantuzzo, Polite,
Cook, & Quinn, 1988), and that they are effective with students who exhibit behavior disorders (Nelson, Smith,
Young, & Dodd, 1991). Their use with ADHD children as a solitary intervention to reduce disruptive behavior is
not supported, however (Hinshaw & Melnick, 1992).

Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions
Cognitive-behavioral interventions are considered to be a broad array of interventions that couple behavioral
learning principles with cognitive factors (Kendall, 1993). These interventions include auger control programs
(e.g., Larson, 1992; Lochman, Nelson, & Sims, 1981), anger control and relaxation training (Feindler & Ecton,
1986), affective imagery (Garrison & Stolberg, 1983) and social problem-solving (Spivack & Shure, 1974).
Many of these interventions are implemented as self-instructional training programs, a procedure by which the
student is taught to generate cognitively alternative solutions to potential interpersonal conflicts, impulsive
responses, or aggression toward others. Outcome research using these interventions with aggressive youth
and adolescents has not consistently demonstrated a reduction of disruptive classroom behavior in regular
education settings (e.g., Larson, 1992; Lochman, 1992), although some research has yielded positive results
(e.g., Yu, Harris, Solovitz, & Franklin, 1986). It has been suggested that the lack of reduction in classroom
settings may be partially due to the relative insensitivity of behavioral rating measures (Camp, Blom, Hebert, &
van Doorninck, 1977). A meta-analysis of studies using social problem-solving interventions with children from
3 to 12 years of age resulted in an average effect size of .58 for measures of adjustment indicating that the
treated children were better adjusted than 72% of the nontreated children at the end of treatment (Denham &
Alineida, 1987). Interestingly, the average effect size for studies using teacher behavioral ratings was only .26.
The authors of the meta-analytic study suggest that teachers were not blind to whom was treated and that they
had a stringent requirement for rating improved adjustment.

Although peer-mediated interventions may simply rely on social contingencies for their effectiveness, some
authors suggest that this type of intervention represents a social problem-solving model (e.g., Salend, Jantzen,
& Giek, 1992). For example, peer confrontation uses a three-step model: (a) identifying the peer's problem, (b)
determining the effects on others, and (c) engaging in problem solving. Peer management has been shown to
be effective in reducing disruptive classroom behavior (Salend, Jantzen, & Giek, 1992).

Individual Counseling
Working during the past several decades, Cowen and his associates have developed an extensive school-
based counseling service called the Primary Mental Health Project (PMHP) for acting-out children (Cowen,
Orgel, Gesten, & Wilson, 1979). Their approach was based on four tenets of psychotherapy taken from Ginott
(1959):

1. Psychotherapy is a learning process that depends on the relationship between the therapist and client;
2. Children learn from empathic adults who model effective coping skills;
3. Therapists must present themselves as being safe to be maximally empathic; and
4. Most nonempathic adults are simply unskilled. (Cowen, Orgel, Gesten, & Wilson, 1979, p. 384)
The PMHP model uses teacher aides within the school setting to be trained as individual therapists for children
screened for adjustment problems. Overall, the results of the PMHP suggest that it is helpful in reducing
children's acting-out behaviors (Cowen et al., 1975).

Parent Training
The initial parent training programs emphasized behavior change through behavioral management such as
differential reinforcement, compliance training, and timeout (Forehand & McMahon, 1981). Although parent
training interventions were effective in the reduction of disruptive behavior in the home setting, research
yielded insignificant changes in children's classroom behaviors (Breiner & Forehand, 1981; Forehand et al,
1979). More recently, programs have incorporated communication training into the parent training, which has
resulted in concomitant decreases in disruptive behavior in the home and school setting (e.g., Strayhorn &
Weidman, 1991).

Multimodal Interventions
We defined multimodal interventions as those interventions which couple two or more interventions into one
treatment package. This category includes interventions such as positive practice and serf-management with a
single subject (e.g., Bornstein, Hamilton, & Quevillon, 1977) as well as group interventions coupling parent
training with social problem-solving (e.g., Horn, Ialongo, Popovich, & Peradotto, 1987; Kazdin, Siegel, & Bass,
1992; Tremblay et al., 1995). Although this category includes a wide array of combined interventions, as a
whole they have yielded mixed results.

Meta-Analysis Findings and Issues


We were interested in calculating the effect size of interventions used to decrease disruptive behavior and the
relative effectiveness of these interventions compared to other treatments for children and adolescents. The
most straightforward calculation of an effect size is the mean difference between treatment and control groups
divided by the within-group standard deviation. Effect size is calculated as delta E-C = (ME - MC) / SDEC (Glass,
McGaw, & Smith, 1981). For example, a meta-analysis of psychotherapy including 375 studies found an
average effective size of .68 (Smith & Glass, 1977). For interpretation's sake, the difference between the
average control group score and average treatment group score is given in standard units. Because the
average control group mean was 0 in standard units and the average treatment group mean was .68, this
indicated that the treated clients were on average .68 units above the control group mean of 0, which
corresponds to the 75th percentile. Thus, it can be said that 75% of the persons receiving psychotherapy
experienced more improvement than those who did not receive therapy. (For a discussion of this topic, see
Kazdin, 1988, pp. 32-41).
A meta-analysis of 75 studies of psychotherapy with children and adolescents who ranged from 3 to 15 years
of age yielded an average effect size .71, which suggests that 769% of treated children improved compared to
non-treated children (Casey & Berman, 1985). Another meta-analysis of 108 psychotherapy studies conducted
with a wider range of children and adolescents yielded an average effect size of .79, corresponding to 79%
improvement over nontreated youth (Weisz, Weiss, Alicke, & Klotz, 1987). It was found that behavioral
treatments were slightly more effective than other types of treatments in both of these meta-analyses.
However, these meta-analyses included numerous measures of treatment outcome, and most of the studies
were conducted in settings other than the children's school. Kazdin et al. (1990) conducted a meta-analysis
with a larger set of studies and found that treated children and adolescents compared to treatment-control
subjects yielded an average effect size of .77. However, these authors explicitly excluded studies involving
classroom management. In another meta-analysis of psychotherapy outcomes for children and adolescents in
clinical settings, Weisz et al. (1995) reported an overall mean effect size of .71 using unweighted least squares
method of analysis. Results also indicated that behavioral interventions (ES = .76) were more effective than
non-behavioral interventions (ES = .35). Furthermore, these researchers analyzed the differences in effect
sizes across overcontrolled behaviors, undercontrolled behaviors, and other behaviors. Of particular interest
were the effect sizes for treatment of undercontrolled behaviors: they correspond most closely to disruptive
classroom behavior. The effect size for treatment of aggressive behaviors was .34; for delinquent behaviors,
.42; for noncompliant behaviors, .42; and self-control, .87. The authors of this study did not statistically test the
differences in treatment effects for behaviors in this category, although, on average, it appears as though
aggressive behavior was the most difficult to treat.

A meta-analysis of 33 psychotherapy treatment studies conducted in school settings showed an average effect
size of .58 at the 72nd percentile (Prout & DeMartino, 1986). Effect sizes for elementary and secondary
students were .52 and .65, respectively. A meta-analysis of 50 studies investigating the efficacy of special
education placement versus regular education placement yielded an effect size of -.14 for students with mental
retardation, an effect size of -.34 for slow learners, and an effect size of .29 for the combined category of
students with a learning disability or an emotional disturbance (Carlberg & Kavale, 1980). The authors suggest
that this indicates that students with mental retardation and those who are considered slow learners actually
fared worse in special education placements while the students with either a learning disability or emotional
disturbance fared slightly better in special education placement. However, these results are somewhat difficult
to interpret because the dependent measures included a range of behaviors from achievement to personality
variables. In a meta-analytic review of program placement for students with behavioral disabilities, the authors
used a histogram to display graphically the variance attributable to program placement. Students appeared to
fare better in more restrictive settings, although there were few studies that targeted disruptive classroom
behavior (Schneider & Leroux, 1994). These meta-analyses conducted in school settings suggest, then, that
counseling interventions within the school setting may be effective, although special education placement
yielded mixed results, with students who have a learning disability or a behavioral disorder faring better in
restrictive settings.

One difficulty with the recta-analyses conducted on studies in school settings has been that research using
single-subject or interrupted time series designs has not been included. This presents a limited review of
intervention research conducted in school settings due to the fact that so much of the intervention research
conducted in these settings has used this type of design. One technique used with these types of studies is the
percentage of nonoverlapping data (PND) between baseline and treatment conditions (e.g., Scruggs,
Mastropieri, Cook, & Escobar, 1986). The PND, which is the percentage of data points in the treatment
conditions exceeding the highest point of the distribution in the baseline condition, is used as a measure of
effect size. Using the PND, Scruggs and his associates (1986) found an effect size of .57 for 16 single-subject
data sets obtained from preschool conduct-disordered children in the school setting. Although the PND would
seem to be the solution to the inclusion of single-subject data, it is overly sensitive to a single outlier data point
in the baseline phase, and subtle differences between the baseline and treatment conditions go undetected
(White,

Single-subject data present several statistical challenges which need to be overcome so that an adequate
measure of effect size can be found. Some have suggested simply using analysis of variance with the baseline
and treatment conditions being treated as an independent variable (Shine & Bower, 1971). However, the use
of analysis of variance results in inflated errors. Data points that are positively autocorrelated result in an
inflated change in the difference between conditions and erroneously increase the likelihood of a significant
difference (Crosbie, 1993) or the reverse for negative autocorrelation. Because single-subject data or time
series data often gradually increase or decrease across data points, creating a trend in the data, some
researchers have applied regression models to the analysis of the data (Center, Skiba, & Casey, 1985-86;
Gottman & McFall, 1972). By applying a regression model, the trend of the data also is taken into
consideration. Recently, a new interrupted time series analysis procedure (ITSACORR) was developed to take
these statistical factors into account in the analysis of short data sets of single-subject data (ITSACORR;
Crosbie, 1993). ITSACORR[ 1] yields an overall F-test that uses an estimated adjustment to control for
autocorrelation and yields a t-test for the change in the y- intercept between the baseline and treatment
conditions as well as a t-test for the change in slope between the conditions. It offers adequate power for data
sets with as few as 10 points per phase and adequate control of falsely rejecting the null hypothesis (Crosbie,
1993).
Method
The search for studies included in this meta-analysis was conducted using PsycINFO. Descriptive terms to
conduct article searches were classroom behavior, disruptive behavior, and aggression. Abstracts were
selected that described interventions to decrease disruptive classroom behavior. Three hundred and ten
abstracts were obtained from more than 20 different journals pertaining to interventions for disruptive
classroom behavior. Of the 310 abstracts, 273 studies were collected.

Four criteria were used to further the selection process:

1. The study had to provide an empirical measure of disruptive classroom behavior as well as a valid outcome
measure. Disruptive classroom behavior was defined as aggression, out-of-seat behavior, disruptive noise,
disturbing others, and talking without permission. Twenty studies were excluded because the dependent
measures were school adjustment ratings, referrals to the principal's office, or total scores on a behavioral
rating scale (e.g., the Child Behavior Checklist, Total Score). Although these measures may capture an aspect
of disruptive classroom behavior, they were considered either too subjective to be a valid measure of disruptive
behavior, or too global, as is the case of scores on behavioral rating scales that capture behaviors such as
anxiety and depression in addition to disruptive behavior. Another 26 studies were excluded because the study
used a dependent measure that measured the amount of appropriate behavior. This was done because an
increase in on-task behavior does not necessarily coincide with a reduction in disruptive behavior (McNamara
& Jolly, 1990), or vice versa.
2. Only studies conducted in public education settings were analyzed. Forty-three studies were excluded because
they were conducted in alternative settings such as parochial schools, university-affiliated laboratory schools,
juvenile detention facilities, day-treatment programs, alternative education programs, psychiatric hospital
settings, summer day-camp settings, institutions for patients with organic disabilities, or mental health clinics.
Studies also were excluded that were conducted in settings other than classrooms, such as in the cafeteria, on
the playground, or on a bus.
3. Only studies that reported adequate statistical information to recover an effect size were selected. This
excluded 71 studies that reported findings without using statistics; or using nonparametric statistical tests,
multiple analysis of variance, analysis of covariance; or using other sophisticated statistical designs that
confounded the recovery of an effect size by controlling for other variables. Also excluded were single-subject
or group time series designs that presented less than 10 data points in at least one of the baseline or treatment
conditions. This was done so that the ITSACORR program could reflect more accurately the difference
between the baseline and treatment conditions in the data sets with less than 10 points because they are not
reliably tested with the ITSACORR program (Crosbie, 1993).
4. Finally, the study needed to provide a nontreatment control group or a baseline phase. Fourteen studies were
excluded that compared different interventions without using a treatment control or baseline condition. Of the
273 articles collected, 174 were excluded. The meta-analysis was conducted with the remaining 99 studies.
However, the final meta-analysis was conducted on 223 effect sizes because many studies reported more than
one set of single-subject data or treatment vs. control comparisons for interventions to reduce disruptive
classroom behavior.
We extracted individual data points from the 183 single subject and group time series data sets. The majority
of the studies used an A1B1A2B2 design with A representing baseline conditions and B the treatment
conditions. Data points were rearranged into an A1A2B1B2 format so that the data were represented as one
baseline condition and one treatment condition. A similar procedure using multiple treatment conditions in
alternating formats was used with time series designs. Multiple baseline designs were rearranged so that the
baseline and treatment conditions from other settings were combined as with the ABAB designs previously
described. The data were then entered and analyzed using the ITSACORR program (Crosbie, 1993).
ITSACORR yields a t-test for the change in y-intercept between the regression line of the baseline phase and
the regression line of the treatment phase to describe the change between baseline and treatment phases.
ITSACORR also yields a t-test for slope. A significant t-test for slope would suggest that trends were changing
at different rates over time and might suggest that a threat to internal validity such as history or maturation was
in effect (Kazdin, 1982). Virtually none of the data analyzed revealed a significant change in slope. The y-
intercept t statistic and number of data points per phase were used to calculate the effect size (delta E-C) using
the Glass et al. (1981) formula: deltaE-C = t x [(1/nE) + (1/nC)] in which nE represents the number of data points
in the treatment phase and nC the number of data points in the baseline phase.
For data extracted from group designs using treatment and control groups, the effect size or difference
between experimental and control groups was calculated using delta E-C = ME-MC / SD in which ME equals the
mean of the treatment group, MC equals the mean of the control group, and SD equals the standard deviation.
Standard deviation was calculated using the pooled variance between the treatment and control groups
because the y-intercept t statistic used the pooled variance between the baseline and treatment conditions.
The pooled variance was calculated using S2 = (nE -1)SE 2 + (nC 1)SC2 / nC + nC - 2 (Hunter, Schmidt, &
Jackson, 1982). The square root of the pooled variance yields the standard deviation term. For studies that
reported results using an F statistic for the difference between the treatment and control groups, the square
root of F was used to convert it to a comparable t statistic (Rosenthal, 1991).
Table 1 depicts the studies included in the meta-analysis. The nine columns represent the pertinent data used
to conduct the analysis. The first column reports the authors of the study. The second column denotes the
subjects' age or grade. The third column depicts the number of subjects in the study, the number of females
and males, the ethnic diversity, the special education category, and alternative settings (i.e., resource room or
self-contained) as well as other important student characteristics. These characteristics included aggressive
children and youth who were screened for treatment due to their aggressive behavior or Oppositional Defiant
Disorder or Conduct Disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 1994), Headstart children, Title I children,
and children diagnosed as or presumed to be Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disordered (American Psychiatric
Association, 1994). The fourth column represents the type of treatment used to reduce disruptive classroom
behavior. The treatments were grouped into 16 categories: (a) token economies or point systems for
appropriate behavior; Co) differential reinforcement; (c) response cost; (d) group contingencies; (e) teacher
approval or disapproval; (f) peer management; (g) exercise programs, which were not covered in the
introduction, but the collection of studies for the meta-analysis revealed that two investigators used non-
contingent exercise programs as a method to decrease disruptive classroom behavior; (h) multimodal
treatments that combined several interventions; (i) home-based contingencies; (j) functional assessment
procedures that relied on hypothesis-based manipulations of antecedents to determine the setting events of
disruptive behavior followed by task changes (i.e., student choice in assignments or curriculum revisions) or
contingency changes to reduce disruptive behavior; (k) serf-management interventions that included modeling,
correspondence training, serf-monitoring, serf-reinforcement and self-recording; ( 1) stimulus cue interventions
that provided cues to change behavior without the manipulation of consequences; (m) punishment procedures
such as timeout or overcorrection; (n) cognitive-behavioral interventions that included anger-control, social
problem-solving, social skills groups, and relaxation training; (o) parent training or parent-child communication
training; and (p) individual counseling. Also depicted in this column is whether the treatment included a positive
or negative consequence for the students' behavior. R+ represents reinforcement or positive consequences,
and P- represents punishment or negative consequences. The fifth column depicts the type of research design
employed. Group designs used a treatment and control group. Single-subject designs are differentiated from
time series designs simply by the fact that the time series designs report group data in a time series format.
The seventh column depicts the type of instrument used, either behavioral observation or teacher behavioral
ratings. The eighth column shows the number of data points in the control and treatment phases. The ninth
column shows the t-test result of the change in the y-intercept between the baseline and treatment phases for
single-subject and time series designs. In studies where the F was converted into a t, it is denoted with the
superscript - "b" When the effect size was calculated from mean differences in the treatment and control
groups, it is denoted with "ES." The last column reports the resulting probability of the test statistic, if available.
Results
Description of Students Included in the Studies Analyzed
There were 5,057 students represented in the studies analyzed. From those studies that reported gender, it
was indicated that 615 students were female and 910 students were male. From the studies that reported
cultural background, it was indicated that 953 of the students were African-American, 141 were European-
American, and another 58 were considered to be of ethnically diverse backgrounds other than
EuropeanAmerican. Of the total number of students participating, 4,117 were identified as regular education
students, 55 were diagnosed with or presumed to have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, 57 were
considered to have a Serious Emotional Disorder, 81 were served as students with a Learning Disability, 31
were in Special Education placements for Mental Retardation, 56 were in multicategorical Special Education
placements, 76 were from two Headstart programs, 64 were from a Title I program, 5 were from a Hearing
Impaired classroom, and 550 were in the clinically significant range for aggression or were considered to have
Oppositional Defiant or Conduct Disorder.

Reliability
The inter-rater reliability on 23% (n = 42) of the 183 single,subject or times series graphs presented in the
studies collected was calculated. Because the graphic display of much of the single,subject data used data
points that were larger than two corresponding points on the y-axis, reliability checks on each data point were
considered in agreement if the interraters calculations were within +/- I point of each other. The percentage of
agreement was calculated by taking the number of agreements divided by the number of agreements plus
disagreements per case. The percentage of agreement ranged from 70/'0 to 100%. The average agreement
across the 42 studies was 92% with a median of 94%.

Effect Size by Intervention and Contingency


The overall mean effect size and mean effect size per intervention type is reported in Table 2. The 99 studies
yielded 223 effect sizes with a mean of-.78 and a standard deviation of .58, indicating that the interventions
analyzed in this study resulted, on average, in a reduction of disruptive classroom behavior among 78% of the
treated students. The effect sizes per intervention range from 3 to 30 and the mean effect size per intervention
ranged from -.31 to -1.02. Due to the limited number of effect sizes for some interventions, these results are
considered tentative for interventions with less than a total of 10 effect sizes.

An analysis of variance was conducted on the effect sizes derived from the interventions with more than 10
effect sizes. The results of the analysis of variance suggest that there was a significant difference between the
magnitude of these effect sizes, F(9, 184) = 2.68, p < .01. A Student-NewmanKeuls t-test was conducted to
determine which intervention means were reliably different. Results showed that group contingencies (ES = -
1.02, SD = .63); t = -4.89, p < .05, serf-management strategies (ES = -.97, SD = .64 0; t = -4.93, p < .05, and
differential reinforcement techniques (ES = -.95, SD = .52); t = -4.59, p < .05 were significantly different from
the cognitive-behavioral interventions in level of effectiveness (ES = -.36, SD = .41), and were, on average,
more effective than the cognitive-behavioral interventions.

Also of interest was the type of consequence used to manage disruptive classroom behaviors. Each
intervention described in the analyzed studies was coded into one of four categories representing the use of
behavioral consequences to decrease disruptive behavior. The categories included the use of positive
consequences, negative consequences, combined positive and negative consequences, and interventions that
had no immediate consequence. These effect sizes are shown in Table 2. An analysis of variance was
conducted on the effect sizes across the four categories of consequences used. The mean effect sizes for the
consequence categories were -.86 (SD = .58),-.78 (SD = .47),-.97 (SD = .89), and-.64 (SD = .54) for positive,
negative, combined, and no immediate consequence, respectively. The results of the analysis of variance were
not significant, F(3, 219) = 2.56, p = .055, suggesting that no one specific type of behavioral consequence
resulted in a statistically significant difference in outcome.

Effect Size by Educational Category and Clinical Population


The effect sizes by educational category and clinical population also are shown in Table 2. Again, there was a
limited number of effect sizes for some categories so categories with less than 10 effect sizes are considered
tentative for interpretation purposes. An analysis of variance was conducted on categories with more than 10
effect sizes. The analysis yielded a significant difference across these categories, F(5, 200) = 2.70, p < .05. A
Student-Newman-Keuls t-test (t = -4.19, p < .05) showed that the mean effect size for interventions to reduce
disruptive classroom behavior was significantly higher for students considered to have a Serious Emotional
Disturbance (ES = -.98, SD = .75) than for aggressive students or students considered to be Oppositional
Defiant or Conduct Disordered (ES = -.48, SD = .27). This result suggests that the interventions were more
effective in reducing disruptive classroom behavior for students considered to have Serious Emotional
Disturbances than for students exhibiting aggressive behaviors or Oppositional Defiant or Conduct Disorder.
However, other possible contributing effects to this finding could be the grade level, classroom setting,
treatment design, and instrumentation used in the study, which also were examined.

Effect Size by Grade Level and Setting


The effect sizes by grade level ranged from -.64 to -.91. These are shown in Table 2. An analysis of variance
conducted on effect size across grade level yielded no significant difference between grade levels F(4, 214) =
2.4, p = .052. The difference in effect size across classroom settings ranged from -.65 for regular education
classes to -.97 for self-contained classes. Analysis of variance results revealed a significant difference between
classroom settings, F(2, 220) = 7.62, p < .001. A Student-Newman-Keuls t-test (t = -5.39, p < .05) showed that
the mean effect size for self-contained classrooms was significantly greater than the regular education settings.
This main effect suggests that the interventions used with students in self-contained classrooms resulted in
greater reductions of disruptive classroom behavior compared to students in regular education classroom
settings.
Effect Size by Design and Instrument
Another possible contributing effect on the variation across effect sizes was the treatment design. Effect sizes
by group design, single-subject, group time series and follow-up designs ranged from-.71 to -.90. Analysis of
variance results indicated a nonsignificant difference between these designs, F(3, 219) = .73, p = .53. This
result indicates that even though this meta- analysis compared results of time series and group design studies
there were no significant differences in this methodology regarding the findings. Another important
methodological factor was the type of instrument used as the dependent measure. Studies that used teacher
rating scales yielded an average effect size of-.37, whereas studies using behavioral observations produced an
average effect size of-.83; these effect sizes are significantly different, F( 1, 221) = 13.67, p < .001. This finding
indicated that studies using behavioral observation of classroom disruptive behavior were far more likely to
evidence a significant decrease in disruptive classroom behavior than studies relying on teacher rating scales.
This indicates that teacher ratings of behavior change were less sensitive to change than behavioral
observation coding systems.
The Combined Effects of Cognitive-Behavioral Interventions, Aggressive/Conduct Disordered
Students, and Teacher Rating Scales on Effect Size
Due to the negative impact on effect size related to cognitive-behavioral interventions, aggressive/Conduct
Disordered students, and teacher rating scales, a multiple regression analysis was performed to determine the
relative impact of these variables in combination on effect size. The 10 levels of intervention categories were
recoded into a dichotomous variable denoting interventions that were either cognitive-behavioral or not. The six
levels of education or clinical population categories were recoded into a dichotomous variable denoting
populations that were either aggressive/Conduct Disordered or not. Likewise, the dichotomous variable
instrumentation was recoded into teacher rating scale or not. Because it also is possible that the interaction of
these variables could explain a statistical difference in effect size, the two-way interactions of these variables
also were coded as independent variables and entered into the regression equation.

The results of the forward entry multiple regression analysis showed that teacher rating scales were
statistically associated with effect size, F( 1, 212) = 11.49, p < .001 (Beta = .227, t = 3.39, p < .001). The
remaining variables did not enter into the equation because they exceeded the .05 probability level. The
positive relationship between the teacher rating scale variable and negative effect size indicates that studies
using teacher rating scales as a measure of disruptive behavior were more likely to find less of a reduction in
disruptive classroom behavior than studies using behavioral observations.
Due to the lack of sensitivity in the reduction of disruptive classroom behavior in studies using teacher rating
scales, the previously reported one-way ANOVAs were performed again excluding studies that used teacher
rating scales. This resulted in a combined loss of 17 effect sizes in the response cost, self-management,
multimodal, and cognitive-behavioral interventions. Ten effect sizes were lost in the cognitive-behavioral
interventions alone, yielding only 6 effect sizes for this intervention type. The mean effect size increased from -
.36 to -.50. Due to the lost effect sizes in cognitve-behavioral interventions, it was eliminated from further
analysis. When the remaining nine interventions were analyzed using a one-way ANOVA, there was no longer
a statistically significant difference detected between the 10 different interventions, F(8, 162) = 1.51, p = .15.
This indicates, at least in part, that the previous significant difference found between the interventions was
confounded by the use of studies using teacher rating scales. Although acceptance of the null hypothesis
suggests no statistical differences between the interventions due to the confound of the teacher rating scale
instrumentation, it is important to note there was a considerable range in the average intervention effect size.
The variability in the effectiveness of the interventions is evidenced by the large standard deviations.
Therefore, even though the relative magnitude of the group contingency, serf-management, and differential
reinforcement effect sizes was more than two and one-haft times larger than the average effect size for
cognitive-behavioral interventions, the large standard deviations indicate that there was significant variability in
the relative effectiveness of these interventions across the different interventions reviewed in this meta-
analysis.

A second one-way ANOVA was conducted with the previously analyzed education or clinical categories with
the exclusion of studies using teacher rating scales. This resulted in a loss of 15 effect sizes in regular
education, learning disabled, and aggressive/Conduct Disordered categories. The largest loss was 8 effect
sizes in the aggressive/Conduct Disordered category although the effect size remained unchanged at -.48. The
difference in treatment magnitude across the 6 different categories was not statistically significant, F(5, 185) =
2.01; p = .08. Again, at least in part, the previous difference in education or clinical categories was due to the
confound of teacher rating scales as a measure of treatment magnitude.

A third one-way ANOVA was conducted with setting as the independent variable and without studies using
teacher rating scales. This resulted in a loss of 21 effect sizes in the regular education settings and 2 in the
resource room settings. The analysis resulted in a statistically significant difference in effect size between the
different classroom settings, F(2, 197) = 4.13, p < .05. The average effect size for self-contained classrooms
(ES = -.97) was statistically different from the average effect size for regular classroom settings (ES = -.71)
when a follow-up Student-Newman-Keuls t-test was conducted (t =- 4.12, p < .05). This indicated that even
though the confounding impact of instrumentation was excluded from the analysis there still remained a
statistically significant difference in the reduction of disruptive classroom behavior for students in self-contained
classrooms compared to student treated in regular education classrooms.

Discussion
The overall effect size of-.78 suggests that the interventions reported in this study were successful in reducing
disruptive classroom behavior for 78% of the treated students in public education settings compared to non-
treated students. This result is comparable to meta-analytic studies on psychotherapy outcomes for children
and adolescents (Casey & Berman, 1985; Kazdin et al., 1990; Weisz et al., 1987; Weisz et al., 1995). In
comparison to Prout and DeMartino's (1986) meta-analysis of psychotherapy studies conducted in school
settings, which included a wider variety of therapies and treatment outcome measures, our finding of 789/0 and
their finding of 72% (ES = .58) improvement over controls are relatively comparable. Because the present
study focused exclusively on interventions for disruptive behavior in public school settings rather than
psychotherapy outcome, we can be confident that these interventions are, overall, effective choices for the
classroom.

When the combined effects of the variables that had a negative impact on treatment outcome were analyzed, it
was found that studies using teacher rating scales were associated with significantly less of a decrease in
disruptive classroom behavior compared to studies using behavioral observations. The limited sensitivity of
teacher rating scales to correlate with behavioral observation has been noted in previous research (Camp et
al., 1977; Shapiro, Lentz, & Sofman, 1985; Skiba, 1989). Other researchers have noted that students who are
disruptive may create a halo effect whereby they are more likely to be associated with other types of
inappropriate behaviors (Schachar, Sandberg, & Rutter, 1986). It also is possible that when a teacher is asked
to rate a disruptive student's behavior after the student has undergone treatment that the teacher's standard for
appropriate classroom behavior still remains the student who is significantly less disruptive than the treated
student. This would suggest that even though there was a relative reduction in disruptive behavior for the
disruptive student, in comparison to an average student, the teacher still indicates that the treated student is
still relatively disruptive.

Due to the statistical significance of instrumentation on effect size, the main factors of intervention, grade level,
academic or clinical category, and setting were analyzed with the exclusion of studies using teacher rating
scales. Among these factors, it was found that there was a statistically significant difference in the level of
reduction in disruptive classroom behavior between students treated in serf-contained classrooms compared to
those in regular education classrooms. This result is supported by a meta-analysis indicating that special
education students performed somewhat better in special education environments compared to regular
education classmates (Carlberg & Kavale, 1980). However, the previous meta-analysis combined academic
performance and behavior out-' come measures so that the specific effect on disruptive behavior was not
obtainable. Our statistically significant finding seems to make logical sense. The typical special education serf-
contained classroom is more likely to be structured with a higher teacher-to-student ratio enhancing the
amount of supervision that the students receive. Furthermore, special educators are trained in the systematic
use of these interventions.

Of practical importance for school psychology practitioners was the analysis of intervention type. With the
exclusion of studies using teacher rating scales there were no statistical differences found between the
interventions analyzed. This was the result of a substantial degree of variability in the effectiveness of the
different interventions studied as evidenced by the relatively large standard deviations. Therefore, caution
should be exercised in selecting one of these interventions as more powerful than another because of the large
variability in the response of students to these interventions. With this caution in mind, when studies excluding
teacher rating scales were analyzed, the three most effective interventions on average were group
contingencies (ES = -1.02), self-management (ES = -1.00) and differential reinforcement (ES = -.95). In
clinically meaningful terms (Kazdin, 1988), this would indicate that group contingencies, self-management, and
differential reinforcement interventions resulted in the reduction of disruptive classroom behavior for about 85%
of the students treated. The two relatively least effective interventions, when the studies excluding teacher
rating scales were analyzed, were functional assessment (ES = -.51) and cognitive-behavioral interventions
(ES = -.50). In clinically meaningful terms, this would indicate that functional assessment and cognitive-
behavioral interventions would result in a reduction of disruptive classroom behavior for about 70% of the
students treated.

Another important consideration for the practitioner is whom she/he would be treating. Although there was not
a statistically reliable difference between the educational or clinical population factors when studies using
teacher rating scales were excluded, the aggressive or Conduct Disordered population remained the least
likely to respond to interventions (ES = -.48). This finding is comparable to another meta-analysis of
psychotherapy outcome studies in clinical settings (Weisz et al., 1995) that reported similar findings for children
and adolescents treated for delinquency (ES = -.42), noncompliance (ES = -.42), and aggression (ES = -.34).
Nevertheless, our study would suggest that on average 68% of the aggressive or Conducted Disordered
students demonstrated a reduction in disruptive classroom behavior compared to controls.

A further contribution of this study was in the use of the ITSACORR statistical program. ITSACORR allowed for
the quantitative synthesis of single-subject data taking into account autocorrelation, change in slope, and the y-
intercept.

In summary, this meta-analytic study demonstrated that interventions to reduce disruptive behavior work in
public schools, although the reliance on teacher rating scales may demonstrate less sensitivity to actual
reduction in disruptive classroom behaviors. Furthermore, it was found that students treated in serf-contained
classroom settings were more likely to demonstrate, on average, a reduction in disruptive classroom behavior
compared to students treated in regular education classrooms. We hope these findings serve to separate the
myth that disruptive classroom behavior cannot be effectively managed in public education settings from the
reality that interventions widely used in our schools do, in fact, reduce disruptive classroom behavior.

We would like to extend our gratitude to our Associate Dean, Richard S. Neel, for his enthusiasm and financial
assistance for this study. We also would like to thank Professor Alan J. Klockars and Professor Owen R. White
at the University of Washington for their statistical advice.

Footnote
1 The ITSACORR program can be purchased from John Crosbie, Department of Psychology, West Virginia,
Morgantown, West Virginia 265066040. Electronic mail may be sent to Crosble@WVNET.EDU (Internet) or to
Crosbie@WVNVM (Bitnet).
Table 1 Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis
Legend for Chart:

A - Authors
B - Age/Grade
C - Subjects
D - Intervention[a]
E - Design
F - Instrument
G - ncne
H - t
I - p

A B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I

1. Amerikaner & 1st-2nd grade


Summerlin

n = 46 res-LD

relax grp v. soc. skills (14)

group design

teacher rating

16,15
16,15

ESs
-1.15
-.02

2. Ayllon, Garber, 8-10 yrs.


& Pisor
aa = 23

tokens, R+, & home note (8)

time series

observation

8,15

-1.47

.159

3. Ayllon & Roberts 5th grade

n = 38

DR of acads (2)

time series

observation

23,17

.69

.492

4. Barrish, Saunders, 4th grade


& Wolf
n = 24

group contingency, R+ (4)

time series

observation

13,10
13,10
13,10
13,10

-3.61
-3.47
.73
.24

.002
.003
.474
.814

5. Bellofiore & Salend 5-7 yr. olds

n = 3
sc-SED

peer-confrontation, p- (6)

single subject

observation

12,9
10,9
11,9

-1.61
-0.12
-3.07

.126
.907
.008

6. Birkimer & Brown 9-10 yr. olds

f = 1
m = 4

rules v. tch rating, R+ v.


self-rating, R+ (5, 1, 11)

time series

observation

20,9
20,20
20,15

-0.15
-1.45
-2.83

.881
.156
.008

7. Bloomquist, August, elem. school


& Ostrander
f= 16
m = 36;
ADHD

CBT with teachers,


parents & child (8)

group design

observation

11,11

-2.4[b]

<.04

8. Bolstad & Johnson 1st-2nd graders

n = 40

DR tokens v. self-reg (2,11)

group design

observation

20,20
20,20

-4.8[b]
-6.9[b]

.01
<.001

9. Bornstein, Hamilton, 9 yr. olds


& Quevillon
m = 1

positive practice v. pos.


pract. & self-mng (13, 8)

single subject

observation

10,9
10,11

-1.39
-3.75

.186
.001

10. Broden, Hall, & Mitts 8th grade

m = 1

self-record (11)

single subject

observation

12,11
16,11

-1.5
-.74

.152
.469

11. Broussard & Northup 8 yr. old


6 yr. old
6 yr. old

m = 3
ADHD = 1

functional assessment
DRL (10)

single subject

observation

11,15
12,9
12,12

-1.6
-1.88
-1.88

.1124
.079
.075

12. Brown, Reschly, 4 yr. olds


& Sabers
f = 8
m = 12
headstart

DRO v. group cont. DRO (8, 4)

time series

observation

11,21
11,17

-1.02
-0.64

.321
.529

13. Christie, Hiss, 3rd grader


& Lozanoff
m = 1
ADHD

self-record (11)

single subject

observation

10,20

-1.08

.291

14. Clarke, Dunlap, 9 & 11 yr. olds


Foster-Johnson,
Childs, Wilson, m = 3
White, & Vera sc - SED

func assmt; changing student


curriculum (10)

single subject

observation

17,17
23,13
20,16

-2.26
-0.87
0.33

.03
.391
.746

15. Coleman 11 yr. old

m = 1

tokens v. delay, R+ v. RC v.
home note (1, 1, 3, 9)

single subject

observation

10,13
10,7
10,10
10,7

-2.26
-2.27
-2.82
-2.68

.036
.017
.013
.02

16. Colozzi, Coleman 12 yr. old


-Kennedy, Hurley,
Magliozzi, Fay, f = 1
Schackle, & Walsh res-MR

RC (3)

single subject; 2 behaviors &


2 settings

observation
9,16
9,17
9,16
9,17

-0.98
0.88
-3.75
0.7

.337
.387
.001
.699

17. Cowen, Orgel, K-3rd graders


Gesten, & Wilson
n = 46

child-aides as indiv.
therapists (16)

group design

teacher rating

16,30

ES
-.053

--

18. Crouch, Gresham, 3rd graders


& Wright

n = 22

grp cont.
R+ & indvd P- (8)

time series

observation

8,13

-1.11

.284

19. Darveaux 2nd grader

m = 1

grp cont.
R + (4)

single subject

observation

8,11

-3.65

.003

20. Davis 11 yr. old

m = 1
sc - SED

self-model (11)
single subject

observation

12,21

-1.45

.158

21. Deitz 7, 8, 9, 15, & 6 yr. olds

f = 1
m = 2
sc - SED;
f = 1
sc - MR;
f = 1
rg. ed

DRL (2)

single subject; 1st 3-subjects


2 DRL
schedules each

observation

12,12
12,10
16,9
16,8
18,7
18,7
13,21
12,12

-1.53
-1.51
-3.42
-3.26
-0.12
-1.06
-1.69
-2.07

.143
.15
.003
.004
.904
.303
.105
.053

22. Dietz & Repp 11 yr. old;


elem. school;
high school

m = 1
sc - MR;
m = 6
f = 4
sc - MR;
f = 15

DRL (2)

single subject; time series;


time series

observation

18,15
18,15
16,16
-2.70
-2.87
-4.11

.011
.008
<.001

23. Deitz, Slack, 7 yr. old


Schwarzmueller,
Wilander, Weathery, m = 1
& Hilliard sc - LD

DRL (2)

single subject

observation

18,18

-3.8

.001

24. Drabman & Lahey 10 yr. old & classmates

f = 1; n = ?

teacher feedback P-v. effect


on classmates (5, 12)

single subject; time series

observation

14,21
15,22

-1.26
.08

.218
.938

25. Drege & Beare 6-8 yr. olds

m = 3
sc - SED

tokens & timeout (8)

single subject

observation

8,17
12,12
16,8

-7.79
-4.48
-3.91

<.001
<.001
.001

26. Dougherty & Dougherty 4th graders

n = 15

home-report card (9)

time series
observation

19,19

-0.83

.410

27. Dunlap, Clarke, 10 & 11 yr. old


Jackson, Wright,
Ramos, & Brinson f = 1
m = 1
sc - SED

self-monitor, R+ (11)

single subject + follow-up

observation

12,34
20,13
8,10
8,10

-3.12
-3.83
-6.45
-6.35

.003
.001
<.001
<.001

28. Dunlap, de Perczel, 11 yr. olds


Clarke, Wilson, Wright,
White, & Gomez m = 2
sc - SED

student choice in assignments (13)

single subject

observation

10,11
15,6

-3.45
-1.3

.003
.211

29. Dunlap, Kern-Dunlap, 12 yr. old


Clarke, & Robbins

f = 1
sc - multi

curriculum revisions (13)

single subject + follow-up;


2 settings

observation

19,27
19,36
19,10
19,10

-4.75
-1.75
-2.62
-1.08

<.001
.086
.013
.289

30. Eleftherios, Stroudt, 1st grade


& Strang

f = 12
m= 18

DR (2)

time series

observation

22,14

-4.45

<.001

31. Epstein & Goss 10 yr. old

n = 1

tokens v. tcher R+ v. self-eval


R+ v. flw-up (1,5,11,11)

single subject

observation

24,83
28,11
28,9
28,13

-1.36
-1.17
-0.81
0.08

.177
.249
.424
.405

32. Epstein, Repp, 6-9 yr. olds


& Cullinan
f = 2
m = 4
sc - SED

changing criterion DRL (2)

single subject

observation

12,15
12,15
12,14
11,11
11.14
12,15

-3.67
-2.78
0.90
-2.54
-0.45
-1.96

.001
.011
.38
.021
.657
.063

33. Evans, Evans, 12-13 yr. olds


Schmid, & Pennypacker

aa = 1
w = 5
res SED

exercise (7)

single subject

observation

24,19
26,16
27,16
25,19
26,15
28,17

-1.21
-3.32
-0.66
-1.19
-0.44
-3.85

.233
.002
.513
.239
.659
<.001

34. Gottfredson, middle school


Gottfredson, & Hybl

n = 1977

home corn. & clssm. mgmt., R+ (8)

group design

teacher rating

--

ES
-.12

<.01

35. Grandy, Madsen, 5th grade


& Merssemen

aa = 10
w = 18

grp. cont., R+ (4)

time series, 2 behaviors

observation

20,9
20,9
-3.31
-1.76

.003
.092

36. Gresham & Gresham 6-10 yrs. old

n = 12
sc - MR

interdep. v. dependent v.
indep. grp. conts., DR (4)

time series

observation

10,10
10,10
10,10

-2.69
-4.39
-1.47

.017
.001
.163

37. Grieger, Kauffman, kindergarten


& Grieger

n = 90

peer report & R+ (6)

time series

observation

12,8

-2.6

.02

38. Guevremont & Foster 11-12 yr. olds

m = 2 agg

SPS (14)

single subject

observation

13,21
12,8

-0.94
-0.16

.354
.876

39. Hall, Fox, Willard, 15 yr. old


Goldsmith, Emerson, 10 yr. old
Owen, Davis, & Porcia 13 yr. old
1st grade
2nd grade

m = 1
sc - MR;
m = 1
sc - MR;
m = 1
sc - SED;
aa = 30;
aa = 27

teacher attention (5)

single subject and time series

observation

15,15
10,10
12,12
25,25
20,21

-4.12
-1.58
-4.51
-4.28
-3.28

<.001
.134
<.001
<.001
.002

40. Hall, Lund,& Jackson 1st grader

m = 1

teacher attn. (5)

single subject

observation

10,12

-2.59

.017

41. Iwata & Bailey 10 yr. old

m = 6

token, R+ v. RC (1, 3)

time series

observation

30,21
29,21

-2.73
-1.96

.009
.056

42. Kent & O'Leary 2nd, 3rd, & 4th graders

n = 104 agg

school & home R+ & P - (8)

group design

observation

52,52
-3.29

<.005

43. Knapczyk 13 yr. old & 14 yr. old

m = 2
sc - multi

modeling (12)

single subject + follow-up

observation
follow-up
follow-up

11,8
15,8
10,8
14,8
11,9
10,9

-2.33
-2.95
-1.84
-1,87
-3.98
-3.32

.032
.009
.089
.078
.001
.005

44. Kubany, Weiss, 1st grader


& Sloggett

m = 1

grp. cont. R+ (4)

single subject

observation

13,36

-2.35

.023

45. Lobitz 7 yr. and 9 yr. olds

f = 1
m = 1

stimulus cue (12)

single subject, 2 observations

observation

9,10
10,10
19,10
18,10

-3.05
-1.5
-2.12
-1.9
.009
.153
.045
.07

46. Lochman 7-9th graders

m = 41 agg

anger control + booster (14)

group design; 3 yrs. after

observation

29,11

-2.5[b]

.015

47. Lochman, Burch, 9-12 yr. olds


Curry, & Lampron

m = 76
aa = 40
w = 36
agg

anger control (14)

group design

observation

38,38

-2.8[b]

<.01

48. Lochman, Lampron, 9-12 yr. olds


Burch, & Curry
m = 76
aa = 40
w = 36
agg

anger contrl. v. goalsetting


v. ac+gs (14, 11, 8)

group design

observation

17, 20
17,18
17,21

ESs
-3.16
-.066
-.883

--

49. Lovitt, Lovitt, 9 yr. old


Eaton, & Kirkwood

m = 1
sc - LD

peer-social cont., P- (6)

single subject
observation

58,18

-3.55

.001

50. Luiselli, Pollow, 6 yr. old


Colozzi, & Teitelbaum

f = 1
sc - multi

DRO (2)

single subject, 2 behaviors

observation

9,28
9,28

-2.32
-3,18

.027
.003

51. Madsen, Becker, 2nd grader & kindergartner


& Thomas

m = 2; m = 1

teacher ignore & praise (5)

single subject

observation

10,20
10,23
8,13

-2.16
-3.02
-2.15

.040
.005
.047

52. Maglio & McLaughlin 14 yr. old

f = 1

token (1)

single subject & fade

observation

12,15
12,14

-3.58
-3.22

.002
.036

53. Marandola & Imber 11-12 yr. olds

m = 10
sc - multi
class meeting, peer mng.(6)

time series

observation

12,9

-3.15

.006

54. Marholin II, 10-12 yr. olds


& Steinman

f = 4
m = 4

DR on-task v. DR on-task + ans. (2)

time series

observation

18,19
18,28

-1.18
-3.44

.248
.001

55. McAlister, Stachowiak, high school


Baer & Conderman
f = 13
m = 12

teacher praise + disapprval (5)

time series

observation

19,35

-2.2

.032

56. McCain & Kelley 11 yr. old

m = 1
aa = 1

home-note v. home-note +
RC (9, 8)

single subject

observation

13,10
13,12

.06
-.43

.95
.669

57. McNeil, Eyberg, 2-7 yr. olds


Eisenstadt, Newcomb,
& Funderburk f = 4
m = 26
aa = 6
h = 1
w = 23
BD

parent-child interaction
therapy (15)

group design teacher rating

17,10

-2.2[a]

.044

58. Middleton & Cartledge 1st & 2nd graders

m = 3
agg = 3
agg

soc. skills for parents


& students (8)

single subject

observation

9,10
14,11
12,10

-1.28
-1.03
-0.52

.22
.313
.61

59. Nay, Schulman, 4th graders


Bailey, & Huntsinger

f = 13
m = 11

RC (3)

time series

observation

9,10

-0.17

.868

60. Nelson & Carson 3-4th graders

n = 103

SPS (14)

group design

observation

52,51
44,33

-1.9[b]
-1.0[b]

n.s.
n.s.
61. O'Leary & Becker[a] 1st graders

n = 19

tch. praise (5)

time series

observation

11,12

-.56

.582

62. O'Leary & Becker[b] 9 yr. olds

n = 17
SED

tokens + res. rm. plcmnt. (8)

time series

observation

10,25

-2.12

.043

63. O'Leary, Drabman, 3-4th graders


& Kass

n = 8

tokens + res. rm. plcmnt. (8)

time series

observation

18,11

.19

.851

64. Olexa & Foman 4-5th graders

f = 25
m = 39
aa = 58
w = 6
title I

SPS v. RC v. SOS+RC
(14,3,8)

group design; follow-up


teacher rating

16,16
16,16
16,16
16,16
16,16
16,16

ESs
.370
-.481
-.539
.204
-.119
-.458

--

65. Prinz, Blechman, 1-3rd graders


& Dumas

f = 35
m = 45
ethn = 57
agg

peer-coping skills (14)

group design & follow-up

teacher rating

38,42
35,39

-2.3[b]
-2.8[b]

.02
<.01

66. Ramp, Ulrich, 3rd grade


& Dulaney

m = 1

delayed timeout (13)

single subject

observation

44,23
42,23

-2.62
-1.68

.011
.099

67. Repp & Karsh 9 & 7 yr. old

f = 2
sc - MR

func. assmt. + DRA + training (11)

single subject, 3 behaviors

observation

11,42
30,21
11,52

-.81
.10
-1.47

.423
.920
.147

68. Rollins, McCandless, K-8th grade


Thompson, & Brassell

f = 363
m = 367
aa = 730

teacher ignore & praise (5)

time series, prim. & intm. grds.

observation

18,18
18,18

-2.98
-1.8

.006
.081

69. Safer, Heaton, high school


& Parker

n = 40

schoolwide behavior program (8)

grp. des.
4 yr.
follow-up

teacher rating

19,21

-1.9[b]

.05

70. Salend & Allen 9 yr. olds

m = 2
res - LD

RC v. self-mng. and RC (3,11)

single subject

observation

15,23
15,23
15,22
15,23

-6.05
-2.35
-1.35
-3.81

<.001
.025
.186
.001

71. Salend & Gordon 6-9 yr. olds

f = 1
m = 8
res-
LD = 8
SED = 1

grp. cont.
RC v. timeout ribbon
(4)

time series; 2 classes


observation

15,17
15,18

-3.61
-2.77

.001
.01

72. Salend & Henry 8 & 11 yr. old

m = 2
sc - LD

RC (3)

single subject

observation

14,14
10,28

-1.41
-1.98

.164
.056

73. Salend, Jantzen, 8-9 yr. olds


& Giek

f = 1
m = 4
sc-
LD = 3
SED = 2

peer confrontation, P- (6)

time series

observation

13,21

-2.36

.025

74. Salend & Lamb 9-12 yr. olds

f = 3
m = 3
res - LD;
f = 1
m = 1
res - LD

grp. cont., RC (4)

time series; 2 classes

observation

11,18
10,18

-3.77
-4.13

.001
<.001
75. Salend, Whittaker, 11-15 yr. olds
& Reeder
f = 2
m = 6
res - LD;
f = 5
m = 7
res - LD

peer-rang., DRL (6)

time series; 2 classes

observation

14,21
17,20

-1.70
-3.47

.099
.001

76. Sandler, Arnold, 9-11 yr. olds


Gable, & Strain

f = 1
m = 2
sc - multi

peer conf., P- (6)

single subject

observation

25,11
21,11
30,11

-1.08
-3.39
-0.36

.288
.002
.725

77. Schilling & Cuvo 13-16 yr. olds

f = 1
m = 17
sc - multi

grp. lottery, RC (4)

time series

observation

8,17

-1.8

.086

78. Simmons & Wasik 1st graders

f = 14
m = 11
aa = 5
w = 20

grp. cont., RC (4)


time series

observation

13,28

-2.45

.019

79. Smith, Young, 13-15 yr. olds


West, Morgan, & Rhode

f = 1
m = 2
res-
SED = 2
LD = 1

self-mng., R+ (11)

single subject

observation

9,23
8,16
9,17

-3.28
-2.39
-1.69

.003
.028
.106

80. Smith, Siegel, 4th graders


O'Connor, & Thomas

f = 1
m = 1
aa = 1
w = 1
res - mult

anger congrol (14)

single subject

observation

10,17
15,11

-0.68
-2.04

.502
.054

81. Solomon & Tyne 1st graders

n = 20

indiv. DRL v. grp. cont.


DRL (1, 4)

time series

observation

11,7
11,7
-3.85
-4.59

.002
.001

82. Solomon & Wahler 6th graders

n - 5

peer mng. R+ (6)

time series

observation

25,22

-2.25

.029

83. Stainback, Stainback, 4th grader


Etscheidt, & Doud

m = 1

peer group setting change (6)

time series

observation

14,14

-1.77

.089

84. Stem, Fowler, 5th & 6th graders


& Kohler

f = 1
m = 1

peer mng. R+ (6)

single subject

observation

14,11
13,12

-0.66
-2.49

.517
.022

85. Strayhorn & Weidman 3 yr. olds

f = 31
m = 25
headstart

parent-child interaction trn. (15)

group des. & 3 yr. filw-up

teacher rating

--

ESs
-.45
-.48

.11
.089

86. Sugai & Rowe 15 yr. old

m = 1
w = 1
res - MR

self-recording (11)

single subject; follow-up

observation

13,23
13,9

-2.76
-4.25

.01
.001

87. Umbreit 8 yr. old

m = 1
ADHD

func. assmt.; peer group (10)

single subject; 2 classes

observation

10,25
15,20

-2.39
-2.35

.024
.025

88. Van Houten & Nau 6-9 yr. olds

f = 2
m = 3
sc-
hearing impair

DRO FR8 v. VR8 (2)

time series

observation

11,20
11,11

-3.56
-3.63

.001
.002

89. Van Houten, Nau, 9 yr. old


MacKenzieKeating, 12 yr. old
Sameoto, & Colavecchia

m = 2
reg. ed.
SpEd
teacher reprimand v.
reprimand + nonverbal (5)

single subject

observation

16,10
16,10
18,9
18,9

-2.25
-2.67
-1.61
-2.26

.035
.014
.123
.034

90. Weissberg, Gesten, 2-4th graders


Carnrike, Toro, Rapkin,
Davidson, & Cowen

n = 563

SPS (14)

group design teacher rating

231,
332

ES = 0

--

91. Whitman, Scibak, 9 yr. old


Butler, Richter,
& Johnson f = 1
sc - MR

correspondence training
self-mng., R+ (11)

single subject; follow-up

observation

17,17
17,8

-1.76
-1.76

.09
.095

92. Wilson & Hopkins 7th-5th grade

f = 54
home econs.

grp. cont.
DRO (4)

time series; 3 classes

observation

9,14
15,13
9,23
-3.18
-1.09
-0.39

.005
.286
.701

93. Wilson & Williams 1st graders

n = 4

grp. cont.
DRO (4)

time series

observation

36,29

-3.49

.001

94. Winer Elkin, 2nd-5th graders


Weissberg, & Cowen

n = 144

short-term; long-term
child-aide therapy (16)

group design

teacher rating

60,36
60,48

ESs
-.497
-.366

--

95. Witt, Hannafin, 4th graders


& martens
m = 3

home-based R+ (9)

single subject

observation

8,20
13,14
17,9

-0.93
-1.25
-2.07

.363
.224
.051

96. Wolf, Hanley, 4th grader


King, Lachowicz,
& Giles f = 1
remedial class

RC v. grp. cont.
RC (3, 4)
single subject

observation

16,16
16,26

-1.95
-2.54

.061
.015

97. Workman & Dickinson 3rd grader

m = 1

covert R+ self-man. (11)

single subject

observation

14,8
14,9

-1.05
0.27

.309
.789

98. Workman, Kindall, junior high students


& Williams
m = 6
w = 6

teacher R+ v. teacher
R+ & P- (5)

time series; 2 classes

observation

45,20
45,20
55,16
55,20

.03
-2.01
-.09
-2.06

.973
.049
.044
.931

99. Yell 1st-5th graders

n = 6
res-
SED

jogging program (7)

time series

observation

10,10

-3.81

.002
Note. aa = African-American, ADHD = attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, agg = aggressive or Oppositional
Defiant Disorder or Conduct Disordered, CBT = cognitive behavioral therapy, DR = differential reinforcement,
DRA = differential reinforcement of alternative behavior, DRL = differential reinforcement for low-rates of
responding, DRO = differential reinforcement for omission of behavior, ES = effect size, f = number of females,
FR8 = fixed ratio reinforcement schedule for every eighth response, h = Hispanic, LD = learning disabled, m =
number of males, MR = mentally retarded, n = the number of subjects, n c = number of data points for the
control condition, ne = number of data points for the experimental condition, p = probability level of the t-test, P
= punishment, R+ = reinforcement, RC = response cost, res = resource room, VR8 = variable ratio
reinforcement schedule for every eighth response on average, sc = self-contained, SED = seriously
emotionally disturbed, SPS = social problem-solving, v. = versus which notes the comparison of treatments, t =
t-test statistic, w = white.
a Intervention categories are numerically noted: ( 1) token reinforcement, (2) differential reinforcement, (3)
response cost, (4) group contingencies, (5) teacher behavior, (6) peer management, (7) exercise programs, (8)
multimodal treatments, (9) home-based contingencies, (10) functional assessment, (11) self-management, (12)
stimulus cueing, (13) punishment, (14) cognitive-behavioral interventions, (15) parent training, and (16)
individual therapy.
b t-statistic is derived from an F-statistic.

Table 2 Overall Effect Size and Effect Size by Intervention, Educational or Clinical Category, Grade
Level, Setting, Contingency, Design, and Instrument
Legend for Chart:

A - No. of Effect Sizes


B - Mean Effect Size
C - SD

A B C

Overall Effect Size 223 -.78 .58

Effect Size by Intervention

Teacher Behavior 24 -.77 .46


Punishment 3 -.58 .13
Token Economies 7 -.90 .40
Differential Reinforcement 26 -.95 .52
Response Cost 15 -.53 .67
Group Contingency 25 -1.02 .63
Peer Management 16 -.79 .43
Home-Based Contingency 6 -.55 .47
Stimulus Cue 11 -.83 .48
Functional Assessment 11 -.51 .36
Self-Management 30 -.97 .64
Cognitive-Behavioral 16 -.36 .41
Individual Counseling 3 -.31 .23
Parent Training 3 -.60 .23
Multimodal Interventions[a] 20 -.82 .79
Exercise Program 7 -.72 .60

Effect Size by Educational Category or Clinical Populations[b]

ADHD 5 -.78 .23


Screened for Aggression/ODD or CD 16 -.48 .27
Headstart 4 -.39 .10
Regular Education 91 -.72 .54
Mentally Retarded 19 -.78 .65
Seriously Emotionally Disturbed 39 -.98 .75
Learning Disabled 15 -.97 .52
Multicategorical Special Ed. 26 -.92 .40
Title 16 -.17 .39
Hearing Impaired 2 -1.44 .15

Effect Size by Grade Level[c]

Primary Elementary (K-3rd) 76 -.91 .57


Secondary Elementary (4th-6th) 85 -.64 .60
Middle School (7th-9th) 19 -.82 .56
High School 17 -.86 .56
Several Grade Levels Combined 22 -.85 .47

Effect Size by Setting


Regular Education Classroom 122 -.65 .51
Resource Room 33 -.86 .59
Self-Contained Room 68 -.97 .63

Effect Size by Consequence

Reinforcement 101 -.86 .58


Punishment 40 -.78 .47
Combined Reinforcement + Punishment 12 -.97 .89
No Immediate Consequence 70 -.64 .54

Effect Size by Design

Group Design 34 -.71 .68


Single-Subject 58 -.84 .59
Group Time Series 114 -.75 .50
Follow-Up 17 -.90 .77

Effect Size by Instrument

Teacher Rating 23 -.37 .36


Behavioral Observation 200 -.83 .58
Note. Effect Sizes are reported in negative units because they represent the decrease in disruptive behavior.

a Multimodal interventions include treatments that used a combination of the interventions.

b ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is not considered a specific educational category but a clinical
population because it is taken from the DSM IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The
Aggression/ODD or CD category includes students screened for their aggressive behavior and includes DSM
IV diagnosed students with Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Conduct Disorder.

c Grade Level does not contain a category for preschool-aged students because they are included in the
Headstart educational category.

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