Jocelyn Gerst by R0dxt80


									                                                                            Jocelyn Gerst
                                                                     PSY7501, Spring 2008

                                 Behavior Change Project

The target problem behavior this behavior change project was to increase my behavioral
deficit of daily exercise. My definition of the target behavior of exercise in terms of
topography is either going for a walk with my dog or riding my bike around my
neighborhood. My ultimate goal was to engage in at least 45 minutes of continuous
physical activity each day for at least 5 days a week. The baseline data collected from
my daily self-monitoring of the target behavior over a two week period, found that I was
exercising an average of about 30 to 45 minutes a day, 1 to 3 days per week. I would
either exercise in the morning, after I wake-up, or in the evenings, after I return home.
My goal for changing this target behavior did not specifically relate to increasing the
intensity of my exercise, as I did not have a way to measure this variable (e.g. heart rate),
and consequently would not be able to determine if my interventions were effective or
not. In addition, my goal was not to necessarily to obtain self-control over my behavioral
deficit of exercise but to reliably increase the behavior by any means necessary for this

Behavioral Analysis:
Antecedents or Triggers
The environmental triggers for my engaging in exercise include other people being
working out with me, my dog whining to go outside or running around the house with
noticeable amounts of energy, when I first wake up at my regular time in the morning and
I don’t have to go to work or school for a few hours; as the probability of my exercising
increases during these times. Another antecedent that I noted through this process was
that the emotion of guilt, which was elicited by my not working out the day before, would
increase the likelihood that I would exercise the next day. The change interventions I
used of having a note on my mirror to remind myself to workout, as well as, listing
exercise on my daily “to do” list (see Change Strategies for details), were visual cues
used to increase the likelihood of my engaging in exercise. One environmental trigger,
which I noticed through this process, for not engaging in exercise was when I would
come home and my boyfriend would be watching television, which is an alternative
behavior that is highly reinforcing for me.
Some of the reinforcing outcomes of my increasing the amount and duration that I
exercise are that I would lose weight (negative reinforcement), become more toned and
attractive (positive reinforcement), and decrease the likelihood of long-term health
problems, such as, coronary diseases (negative reinforcement). On the flip side, some
aversive outcomes to my not exercising are gaining weight (positive punishment) and
increasing the likelihood of health problems (positive punishment). When exercising, I
feel immediate punishing effects of being sweaty (positive punishment) and physically
exhausted and tired (negative punishment). When I do not exercise I do not experience
these aversive outcomes and I can engage in competing and alternative behaviors that are
reinforcing in the moment, such as, watching television or spending time with friends.
Consequently, the outcomes which are immediate are more salient compared to the long-
term consequences and consequently why I do not exercise at my targeted duration and
amount without contingencies set in place.

Change Strategies:
To keep track of my progress I kept a daily journal of the amount of times I exercised per
week, as well as the length of time of my physical activity. Keeping track of one’s
behavior with a journal has shown in previous studies to assist in behavior change, even
when used by itself as an intervention. To also assist in my behavior change project I set
up a contingency plan by giving my boyfriend $200.00 dollars at the beginning of my
change project and after baseline data collection. During the following ten weeks I
would get twenty dollars back at the end of the week (Sunday) when my boyfriend
determined that I had meet my goal of at least 45 minutes of exercise for at least 5 days
out of a week. My boyfriend was aware of the amount and duration of my exercise on a
weekly basis because for the majority of the time he would exercise with me and all other
times he would be witness my leaving and returning from exercising and the amount of
time in between. In addition, to my boyfriend regularly exercising with me I used other
stimulus control strategies to prompt for my targeted behavior of exercise. I used
reminders for myself to workout, by placing it on my daily "to do" list. This “to do” list
is one that I complete each day and look at multiple times a day to keep myself on track
for all my schoolwork as well as other errands and activities. By placing the phrase
“exercise for 45 minutes” for every day of the week on my “to do” list, this prompted me
to engage in my target behavior. In addition, to increase the salience of the reminder for
exercise I placed a daily reminder to exercise that also stated my consequences on my
mirror, which I look at each morning. The reminder stated “Remember to exercise for 45
minutes today or this week you will lose 20 dollars.”

Baseline and Outcome Data:

            Baseline                              Outcome
 Mon          0      0    45     0    45    45    45   45     0    45     0       0
 Tues        30     45    45    45    45    45    45   45    45    45    45      45
 Wed          0      0     0    45    45     0    45   45    45     0    45      45
 Thurs       45     45    45    45    45    45    45   45    45    45    45      45
 Fri          0      0     0     0     0    45     0    0     0    45     0      45
 Sat          0      0    45    45    45    45    45    0    45     0    45       0
 Sun          0     30    45    45    45    45    45   45    45    45    45      45
 Total       75 120      225   225   270   270   270 225    225   225   225     225
 Average          97.5                                                        238.5






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