Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


This study attempted to reduce aggressive playground behavior by having students monitor their own aggressive actions, and reinforce themselves for the absence of aggressive behaviors on the playground. Twenty-two third grade pupils from Norton. Kansas served as subjects for this study. The teacher and experimenter observed aggressive playground behaviors during two daily recess periods for fourteen days. A five day baseline period (B1) was followed by a five day experimental period (E1). Following each E1 recess period, pupils were instructed to report their aggressive playground responses and to reinforce themselves with a piece of candy or a toy for the absence of aggressive playground behavior. A second baseline period (B2) of two days was followed by a second experimental period (E2) of two days. During E2, pupils again reported the number of aggressive behaviors, but reinforcers were not available regard less of their reports. The first experimental period produced an almost complete elimination of playground aggression during recess periods. The second experimental period produced only a slight reduction in aggressive playground responses as compared with the two prior baseline periods. In addition, E2 produced a drastic drop in the reliability of students' self-reports. These results suggest that self- report and reinforcement could be a highly effective technique for reducing school playground aggression with middle primary level students, thus freeing the teacher to attend more to the positive elements of children's play.


Ronald G. Smith

Date of Award

Summer 1975

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1975 Kathleen M. Hannafin


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