An effectiveness trial of contingency management in a felony preadjudication drug court

Douglas B. Marlowe, David S. Festinger, Karen L. Dugosh, Patricia L. Arabia, Kimberly C. Kirby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


This study evaluated a contingency management (CM) program in a drug court. Gift certificates for compliance were delivered at 4 to 6 week intervals (total value = $390.00). Participants in one condition earned gift certificates that escalated by $5.00 increments. Participants in a second condition began earning higher magnitude gift certificates, and the density of reinforcement was gradually decreased. No main effects of CM were detected, which appears to be attributable to a ceiling effect from the intensive contingencies already delivered in the drug court and the low density of reinforcement. Preplanned interaction analyses suggested that participants with more serious criminal backgrounds might have performed better in the CM conditions. This suggests that CM programs may be best suited for more incorrigible drug offenders. DESCRIPTORS: Drug abuse, drug court, contingency management, criminal justice, operant conditioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-577
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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