Coverant conditioning through a self-management application of the Premack principle: Its effect on weight reduction

John J. Horan, R. Gilmore Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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To evaluate Homme's contention that coverants (cognitive behaviors) incompatible with overeating can be reinforced through a self-management application of the Premack principle, 96 women students between 20 per cent and 30 per cent overweight were randomly assigned to one of four individual counseling programs. After 8 weeks the mean weight differences for Treatment 1 (delayed control), Treatment 2 (information and encouragement), Treatment 3 (scheduled coverants), and Treatment 4 (reinforced coverants) were 0·02, -3·13, -2·72 and -5·66 pounds respectively. Analysis of covariance with pretreatment weight as the covariate revealed that Treatment 4 produced more weight loss than Treatment 1, (p <0·03). No other paired comparisons were significant. The efficacy of the Premack principle in a self-management situation was supported but not established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1971
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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