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Rewarding psychiatric aides for the behavioral improvement of assigned patients1

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  • Articles
  • Medicine
  • Psychology


Different ways of modifying the aide-patient relationship to promote improvement in psychiatric patients were investigated. Psychiatric aides were given information about the behavior of assigned patients, cash awards based on the improvement of assigned patients, and different kinds of supervision by the psychology staff; the effects of these variables on a large number of psychiatrically relevant behaviors were measured. Appropriate behavior of patients increased when the aides were given quantitative information about the improvement of assigned patients. Cash awards for aides, which were not contingent on the behavior of patients had little effect, while cash awards contingent on the behavior of assigned patients were associated with more appropriate behavior. Direct supervision of aide-patient interactions was associated with an increase in appropriate behavior, while required consultation for the aides about assigned patients was not. Behavior of patients deteriorated when the program was terminated.

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