Get access

Positive reinforcement as treatment for problem behavior maintained by negative reinforcement


Correspondence regarding this review should be directed to Steven W. Payne, Department of Applied Behavioral Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045 (e-mail:


Functional analyses (Iwata, Dorsey, Slifer, Bauman, & Richman, 1982/1994) have been useful in determining function-based treatments for problem behavior. Recently, however, researchers have evaluated the use of arbitrary reinforcers (e.g., positive reinforcers) to decrease problem behavior maintained by negative reinforcement, particularly in the absence of extinction. We provide a brief review of recent research on this topic and discuss implications regarding mechanisms, practice, and future research directions.