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Social Validity. Wolf (1978). JABA Social Validity: The Case for Subjective Measurement or How Behavior Analysis is Finding Its Heart An excerpt…. Social Validity. Refers to the degree that behavior-change efforts impact favorably upon consumers Sometimes also called

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Wolf (1978)

  • JABA

  • Social Validity: The Case for Subjective Measurement or How Behavior Analysis is Finding Its Heart

  • An excerpt…


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Social Validity

  • Refers to the degree that behavior-change efforts impact favorably upon consumers

  • Sometimes also called

    • Clinical importance, significance

    • Applied importance, significance

    • Qualitative change

    • Ecological validity

  • 3 elements of an intervention that can be assessed for social validity

    • GOALS

    • PROCEDURES

    • OUTCOMES

  • Carr, Austin, Britton, Kellum, and Bailey (1999) found that social validity measures were

    • Reported in less than 13% of articles in JABA


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Measuring Social Validity

  • Normative comparisons

    • Observe people who are considered competent and identify appropriate target behaviors

    • Used for comparison after treatment

  • Consumer Evaluations

    • Ask consumers to give their opinions

    • Used to establish/evaluate important and acceptable

      • Goals – but consider that source may not know

      • Procedures – who will be implementing them in the natural environment? Who will have influence to impede them?

      • Outcomes

    • Who are the consumers?


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Who Are the Consumers of an Intervention?

  • Direct Consumers (directly receive tx)

    • Client/Participant

    • Family

    • Teacher(s)

  • Indirect Consumers (strongly affected by tx)

    • Family

    • Teacher(s)

    • Funding source

  • Members of Immediate Community

    • Neighbors

    • Friends

  • Members of Extended Community

    • People in the community who don’t know the participant


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Measuring Social Validity

  • Videotape performance before and after tx to evaluate if clinically significant change

  • Interviews/Questionnaires/Rating Scales

    • May be helpful to have someone else assess or ask to mail in anonymously

    • Intervention Rating Profile

      • 15-item Likert-type scale for assessing acceptability of classroom interventions

    • Treatment Acceptability Rating Form

      • 20 Qs for parents to rate acceptability of txs in outpatient clinic

    • Treatment Evaluation Inventory (TEI)

      • Treatment Evaluation Inventory – Short Form (TEI-SF)




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Issues with Subjective Evaluations

  • Subjective opinions often don’t correspond with actual behavior

  • Don’t just choose evaluators who are likely to approve of your goals, procedures, and outcomes

  • Identify who is in the group and why this group is relevant to the issue you’re assessing


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