Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Bibliographies of Camp-related Research

Behavior Change in Children at a Therapeutic Summer Camp as a Function of Feedback Plus Individual and Group Contingencies.
Hughes, H.M.
Doctoral Dissertation, University of Iowa, 1972.

Determine the effectiveness of two types of contingency systems, individual and group, in increasing appropriate behavior during small group meetings at camp.

32 boys and 16 girls ages 8-14 attending a seven-week camp for behavior disordered children.

Method: Campers lived in cabin groups of seven with three counselors. Each counselor had primary responsibility for two or three campers in the group. Campers were awarded points for appropriate behavior while participating in camp activities. Token meetings were held each day after the evening meal. During the meetings campers met with counselors, totaled points for the day, and contracted for target behaviors for the next day. Camper in the individual contingency group received admission to the canteen based on individual token scores. In the group contingency, campers could only go to the canteen if everyone in the group received at least three points for that day. During phase two of the treatment campers received feedback on behavior and reinforcement. During phase three campers received feedback but no reinforcement, and during phase four the group and individual contingencies were switched.

Instrument: Counselors completed a five-point rating scale designed to measure camper behavior at the end of each token meeting. Each of the five target behaviors were rated on a pass/fail basis.

Design: Modified ABAB design consisting of a baseline phase with score used as feedback, treatment I or G, reversal to score as feedback, then treatment I or G (opposite of 1st treatment phase).

Data Analysis: Repeated Measures ANOVA on the mean score for each week and mean scores for each group for each week. No significant difference was found between contingency groups, therefore, scores were collapsed across treatment groups and a MANOVA analysis was used to evaluate differences between treatment phases across all subjects.


  • The reinforcement contingencies were highly effective in producing increased levels of appropriate behavior during meetings.
  • No difference between individual and group reinforcement contingencies.