Publication Date

Summer 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Carl Myers (Director), Sally Kuhlenschmidt, Tim Thornberry, and Frederick Grieve

Degree Program

Doctor of Psychology in Applied Psychology

Degree Type

Doctor of Psychology


The literature is sparse on the use of contingency management procedures in a mental health court (MHC). The purpose of this study was to examine the use of negative reinforcement for behavioral changes in a MHC. Specifically, the present study explored whether a voucher-based contingency management intervention improved the number of weeks compliant on MHC probation and whether participants were more externally than internally motivated to comply with MHC probation requirements. Vouchers were given for compliance with MHC probation requirements. The vouchers allowed participants to miss a future court date. It was hypothesized that participants who received the voucher would remain compliant on MHC probation for more weeks than participants who did not receive the voucher. The second hypothesis stated that participants, regardless of condition, would be more externally motivated than internally motivated to comply with MHC probation requirements. Twenty-two MHC participants were tracked from treatment entry for the first 24 weeks of their MHC probation to determine the number of weeks compliant with MHC probation requirements. The first hypothesis was not supported, as participants receiving the voucher were not compliant more weeks than those participants not receiving the vouchers. The second hypothesis was not supported in that the participants were not more externally than internally motivated. Additional interpretation of the results, limitations of the study, and recommendations for future research are discussed.


Applied Behavior Analysis | Psychology