Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


47th Annual Convention; Online; 2021

All times listed are Eastern time (GMT-4 at the time of the convention in May).

Event Details

Previous Page


Invited Paper Session #185
CE Offered: BACB
Using Contingency Management and Behavioral Economics to Study Health-Related Behavior
Sunday, May 30, 2021
9:00 AM–9:50 AM
Area: CBM; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Michele R. Traub (St. Cloud State University)
CE Instructor: Michele R. Traub, Ph.D.
Presenting Author: WENDY DONLIN WASHINGTON (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Humans are fortunate, in that their behavior can greatly impact their health. Many behaviors can promote health, wellness, and longevity (e.g., physical activity, healthy food choice, and treatment compliance.) However, there are also behaviors that negatively impact health and wellness (e.g., alcohol consumption, sedentary behavior, unhealthy food choices, risky sexual behavior). Unfortunately, the “unhealthy” behaviors are often associated with immediate and highly probable reinforcers, while the “healthy” behaviors have delayed and uncertain reinforcers. Two areas within behavior analysis can inform this competing reinforcer problem: contingency management and behavioral economics. Behavioral economic approaches allow researcher to characterize the value of reinforcers for health-related behaviors. Contingency management research primarily focuses on the use of differential reinforcement of health-promoting behaviors. This presentation will give brief backgrounds on these two areas in the context of health promotion. Data will be presented highlighting factors that impact the efficacy and feasibility of these interventions (e.g., reinforcer type, immediacy of consequences, cost of intervention, goal-setting criteria, and length of intervention.)

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Target Audience:

Board certified behavior analysts; licensed psychologists; graduate students. 

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify and operationally define health promoting behaviors; (2) describe at least 3 essential features for designing effective contingency management interventions; (3) Select behavioral economic measures that can characterize engagement in health promoting behaviors; (4) describe factors that increase the dissemination of behavioral interventions for health.
WENDY DONLIN WASHINGTON (University of North Carolina Wilmington)

Dr. Wendy Donlin Washington is an associate professor of Psychology at University of North Carolina Wilmington. She received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Auburn University under the direction of Dr. Christopher Newland, and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine working with Kenneth Silverman and Maxine Stitzer in developing behavioral treatments for drug abuse. She has conducted research in the areas of contingency management, behavioral toxicology and pharmacology, and behavioral economics. Her current research has focused on using behavioral interventions, like contingency management, to treat health related behaviors such as drug use and physical activity. She has served as Membership Board Coordinator for ABAI since 2016, is on the board of editors for Perspectives on Behavioral Science and Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.




Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh