Comparing an Interdependent and Dependent Group Contingency to Increase Physical Activity in Students During Recess
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Physical activity is defined as any body movement that requires energy expenditure. It has important physiological, mental health, academic, and cognitive benefits for children and youth. Despite these advantages, a large proportion of this population does not meet the minimum recommended amount of physical activity. Recent studies have shown that the interdependent group contingency (IGC) and dependent group contingency (DGC) improve physical activity; however, no comparison of the effects of these group contingencies on physical activity has been conducted. We used a multielement within a concurrent multiple baseline across classes design to compare the effectiveness of these group contingencies to increase physical activity in two classes of grade 5 students. Both group contingencies increased physical activity in both classes, with the IGC producing slightly higher levels of physical activity than the DGC at the class-wide and individual levels of analyses. Conversely, side effect data suggest that participants in both classes preferred the DGC. Results are discussed within the context of treatment decisions and suggestions for future research.