I need someone to review and edit my final paper for my psychology class on an experiment that I have conducted. I have gotten feedback that I need help with grammatical errors and APA formatting with my in-text citations.
Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking Decreasing the Frequency of College Binge Drinking Using a Self-Management Plan
Washington State University Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
My target behavior is decreasing my college binge drinking habits; this behavior
is a behavioral excess. This behavior is a problem because it affects my ability to preform
my daily tasks due to hangovers and makes the skin on my face break out. Using a selfmanagement plan and a token economy I hypothesis I will be able to successfully
decrease my behavior from going out from four nights a week to three nights a week by
the end of the treatment phase. My hypothesis was reinforced and I was able to reach my
goal of decreasing my binge drinking behavior at the end of the treatment phase (M=3).
Over the course of the treatment phase I saw a negative correlation, as the weeks
increased my behavioral excess decreased. By the end of my study I reached my goal and
was able to complete my day-to-day tasks while seeing my skin slowly clear up from
Self Control is defined as the ability to control our desires, our emotions or the
expression of them in ones behavior. Self-control is important because it is what helps
you make the right decisions throughout life (Nelson 2016). Having a high level of selfcontrol will allow you to make the right decisions even if these are not the easiest
choices. (Miltenberger 1997). Behavior change is the process of decreasing unwanted
behavior or increasing wanted behavior through intervention to achieve target behavior.
To change these behaviors we start by using goal setting, which is the process of deciding
what behavior you want to change, then by utilizing an intervention plan, we will attempt
to achieve the desired result (Tuk 2015). There are two types of mindset, fixed and
growth, fixed relates to the idea we were born with certain talents and that?s that but Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
growth relates to the idea that we can be good at anything if we try (Muraven 2010).
Behavioral dimensions are measurable descriptive characteristics that communicate
particular aspects of performance for example: frequency, rate, duration and intensity. To
track such things we use antecedents and consequences. Antecedents are the event,
circumstances and/or stimuli in an environment that takes place immediately before a
behavior occurs. A consequence is the contingencies that immediately follow a behavior
that decrease the occurrence of the behavior; we use positive/negative rewards and
punishments. A positive reward is the addition of an encouragement for behavior to occur
again. A negative reward is something that creates a person to stop or avoid their behavior
due to the negative outcome it creates. A positive punishment is the presentation of an
unfavorable outcome following an undesirable behavior; while a negative punishment is
taking away a desired item after the undesirable behavior happens to decrease future
responses. Schedules of reinforcement are important because they are a tactic used in
operant conditioning that influences how an operant response is learned and maintained.
Schedules of reinforcement use token economies, a system of contingency management
based on the systematic reinforcement of target behavior, the reinforcers are the ?tokens?.
Using a token economy, we use response costs by withdrawing a specified amount of
reinforcer immediately after the production of a challenging behavior (Reppucci 1974).
Using the intervention program with the key concepts of schedules of reinforcement,
token economies, etc. I have decided to decrease my behavior excess of binge drinking
while in college. My goal in this behavior change is to limit the amount of nights I go out
during the week. I have operationally defined my binge drinking as not going out to the
fraternities or local bars (Mikes, Valhalla, and The Coug) more than 3 nights total in one Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
week. If my behavior is changed I will be more able to preform my daily tasks due to the
decrease in hangovers and I will overall feel better during my day-to-day activities. I
hypothesis that I will successfully decrease my binge drinking behavior to no more than 3
nights of drinking in a week and I will do this by tracking my behavior and using a token
I, Rahma Keene, am the only participant within this study of decreasing college
binge drinking habits. I am a 21 year-old Caucasian female student in a sorority at
Washington State University.
I used an ABC chart that first tracked my baseline behavior and then after
recorded a 3-week treatment phase chart to keep track of my behavior accordingly. I
recorded my behavior each day with a tally mark recording whether my target behavior
or my behavior excess occurred. By doing this, it will be easier to see my day-to-day
progress and at the end of the week I will have a better idea of how to maintain or change
my behavior to stay on track of my target behavior. The ABC chart will be kept in my
room on the desk I get ready at every morning so I will 100% see it and sufficiently track
my behavior pattern and ABC observations from the night before.
Along with the ABC chart, other materials used were: a self-management plan
that included a token economy. My self-management plan includes tracking my behavior
to make sure I am reminded to stay on track with my target behavior. Using a token
economy system means that I will reward myself with one quarter in a mason jar on my Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
desk for every night I exercise my target behavior. However, if I participate in my
behavioral excess then a quarter will be removed from the jar. This will give me a visual
of how well I am doing or how much I am struggling to achieve my desired behavior.
This jar will sit beside my ABC chart on my desk so I will see it every morning and can
remove or place a quarter in the jar as soon as I am done making my observations from
the previous nights behavior.
My baseline phase consisted of a one-week period where my behavior was not to
be manipulated in any way. During this time I recorded my usual day-to-day behavioral
patterns to see how much I could really improve during the treatment phase. This would
also give me a better understanding of how my behavior changed once the selfmanagement plan and token economy were presented into my life.
After my baseline was identified, I started my three-week treatment phase. After
each week I would identify the number of tokens I ended with depending on my behavior
throughout the week. By doing this, I was able to see whether I was making progress
toward my desired target behavior depending on the visual representation of quarters in a
mason jar on my desk and the detailed results I recorded on my ABC chart. My backup
reinforcer is getting a professional facial if I am able to end my treatment phase with 3
quarters in my mason jar. I will have a response cost of taking away a quarter for every
night I do go out drinking, this will decrease the likelihood of receiving my backup
Results Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
Before I began my baseline and treatment phases, part of my self-management
plan was to predict how I thought the study would increase/decrease/have no effect on
my behavior. I predicted that the study would influence my behavior by decreasing my
behavioral excess. After completing my study I can conclude that the study did in fact
help me decrease my behavioral excess. There was a negative trend between the weeks
and my behavior, as the weeks increased my behavior decreased, which reinforces my
hypothesis. The results of this trend can be seen in Appendix A Figure 1.
During the baseline phase the mean number of nights I went out drinking was
(M=2). My baseline phase was somewhat inaccurate of my binge drinking behavior
because I was somewhat sick and breaking out that week I did not feel able to go out
drinking as much as I usually would. My first week of the treatment phase was a more
accurate description of my drinking behavior; I had a mean number of nights drinking of
(M=4). Throughout my treatment phase, my total mean number of nights drinking a week
was (M=3). Having a mean number of three nights of drinking was a successful result
since my hope was to not go out more than three nights during a week. My hope was to
decrease my behavior to two nights of drinking a week which by looking at Appendix A
Figure 2 you can see I accomplished by week three of the treatment phase.
When looking at the tokens received during the treatment phase you can see as
weeks go on, I received more tokens. My first week during my treatment phase I had lost
one token (-1 token) because I exceeded my three-night limit and drank four out of the
seven nights that week. The second week of my treatment phase I was able to decrease
my behavioral excess back to three nights within a week, which allowed me to earn one
token total for the week. By the last week of my treatment phase I was finally able to Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
decrease my behavioral excess to only two nights a week where I was able to earn three
tokens for the week. These results can also been seen within Appendix A Figure 2. By the
end of my study I was able to exchange my goal of three tokens for my back up
reinforcer of a professional facial. I believe the visual of tokens did help encourage me to
successfully decrease my behavioral excess.
When completing this study the main findings of the study was the results of the
self-management plans effect on my behavioral excess. The first step I took in this study
was making a hypothesis on what impact the self-management plan would have on my
binge drinking behavior. My prediction was that I would be able to decrease my
behavioral excess to successfully accomplish my target behavior. The results of my study
showed that I was in fact able to reach my target behavior by the end of my treatment
phase by using my self-management plan. Using a token economy in my experience
really helped me accomplish my goals due to the fact I would see the jar every morning
and the amount of quarters each day going up or down encouraged me to focus on my
target behavior. By the end of the study I was able to cash my tokens in for a professional
facial, which was a great reward seeing as my skin was clearing up from drinking less
and after the facial made that even more apparent.
Like all studies there were not only strengths but also weakness to this study.
Some of the strengths within this study were the token economy, the physical reward and
the ABC chart. The token economy itself is a great reward/punishment system. By having
a token taken away it encouraged me more to control my behavior so I could replace the
lost token. If I allowed myself to vary from my target behavior then I was immediately Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
able to see the consequences every morning, on my desk, right in front of me. The
physical reward of not drinking was allowing my face to clear of blemishes. By not going
out drinking I could see my face slowly clearing. I was no longer falling asleep without
taking my make up off and the effects of the alcohol on my body were not seen through
my skin. I also was able to work out more due to the fact I was not as hung-over as I
usually was. The ABC chart was also a strength of this study because having the chart on
my desk every morning to remind me to fill out my behaviors so I would have an
accurate description of my observations to better understand my results. All of these
strengths helped keep me accountable for my actions and stay on track for my target
There were however some weakness to my study. One of the weakness I
encountered with this study was that my baseline was a poor representation of my normal
behavior due to me being sick that week along with my face breaking out so I avoided
going out drinking. This somewhat affected my data by not giving 100% accurate data to
compare my treatment phase results to. Another weakness of this study was lack of time.
Having there only be a one-week base line period effected me being able to give an
accurate representation of my drinking patterns due to the circumstances of that
individual week. Also only having a three-week treatment phase showed my
improvements but did not allow me to maintain my improvements.
For future studies I would add another week to the baseline and add two weeks to
the treatment phase to give accurate results of someone?s starting behavior and how it
changes and is maintained through the treatment phase. Having the treatment phase end
so soon I am concerned at maintaining my progress. To make future studies more intense Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
the addition of limiting the number of drinks within a night could possibly be added. The
other aspects of my study seemed to do well considering I was able to decrease my
behavioral excess using the materials above. In conclusion, I was able to decrease my
behavioral excess which was the defining factor of if the study was successful or not and
my hypothesis was supported by the data I achieved. Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
Miltenberger, R. G. (1997). Behavior modification: Principles and procedures. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Pub.
Muraven, M. (2010). Building selfcontrol strength: Practicing selfcontrol leads to improved selfcontrol performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(2), 465468. Retrieved from http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2098/docview/622130526?accountid=14902
Nelson, L. J. (2016, August 28). What is SelfControl. Lecture presented in Washington, Pullman.
Reppucci, N. D., & Saunders, J. T. (1974). Social psychology of behavior modification: Problems of implementation in natural settings. American Psychologist, 29(9), 649660. Retrieved from http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2098/docview/616125507?accountid=14902
Tuk, M. A., Zhang, K., & Sweldens, S. (2015). The propagation of selfcontrol: Self
control in one domain simultaneously improves selfcontrol in other domains. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 144(3), 639654. Retrieved from http://ntserver1.wsulibs.wsu.edu:2098/docview/1668009685?accountid=14902 Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking Appendix
Appendix A Figure 1 Drinking Behavior Habits
1.2 1 0.8 Nights went out drinking 0.6 Series 2 0.4 0.2 0 Day # Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking Appendix A Figure 2
Tuesday 10/18 Frequency of
drinking Frequency of
not going out
l l Wednesday
10/19 l Tokens
Earned 1 token
Lost 1 token Earned 1 token Thursday
10/20 l Lost 1 token Friday 10/21 l Lost 1 token Saturday 10/22 l Lost 1 token Sunday 10/23 l Earned 1 token Net tokens earned for week 1: -1 token Monday 10/24 Earned 1 token Tuesday 10/25 l
Sunday 10/30 Lost 1 token
l Earned 1 token 1 Earned 1 token l Lost 1 token
Lost 1 token
Earned 1 token l
l Net tokens Earned for Week 2: 1 token Monday 10/31 Earned 1 token l Notes It was stubby
Had to study for
being done with
being done with
my long week
My BFF?s 21st
Went to the
Not good, need
to do better!
Had a severe
Had to take my
friend to her 1st
Took off my
make up and
got into bed
Good, but could
do better! Running head: Decreasing Binge Drinking
Tuesday 11/1 l Earned 1 token Wednesday
11/2 l Earned 1 token Thursday 11/3 l Earned 1 token Friday 11/4 l Lost 1 token Saturday 11/5 1 Lost 1 token Sunday 11/6 l Net tokens Earned for Week 3: Working on
weekend!! Earned 1 token 3 tokens Yay I did it!!
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