Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Henington, D. Carlen

Committee Member

Devlin, D. Sandra

Committee Member

Heiselt, K. April

Committee Member

Gainer, C. Donna

Committee Member

Doggett, Anthony R.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Educational Psychology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology


Time-out, an effective way of controlling undesirable behavior in children, is considered to potentially yield limited effectiveness for individuals over the age of 11 due to their maturation and their parents’ ability to physically enforce time-out. A practical alternative to time-out for adolescents is Job Card Grounding. Job Card Grounding possesses the same behavioral components of time-out in that it provides a system through which parents can deliver consistent discipline and the adolescent has control over the frequency and duration of the consequence. This study is unique in that Job Card Grounding has not yet been empirically validated in the published literature, though researchers have believed for quite some time that it would be an effective means of managing behavior. Furthermore, recent publications indicate that Job Card Grounding would be an effective behavior management program for individuals ages 11-18 years because it has the recommended qualities of successful behavior management plans such as stability, consistency, and opportunities for positive reinforcement. The current study also explored the effectiveness of Job Card Grounding used in conjunction with a token economy. The effect of Job Card Grounding alone and in combination with a token economy to address the behavior of adolescent males who were wards of the state and resided in a therapeutic group home was assessed across two consecutive summers. In Year 1, an ABB+CA design was utilized to assess the effectiveness of the treatments. The second A phase in Year 1 was a natural withdrawal initiated by the adolescents’ caregiver. In Year 2, an AB design was utilized. The investigators were invited back in Year 2 to re-implement the treatment due to a return of undesirable behaviors. Job Card Grounding alone and with a token economy was found to be effective behavior management tools for this population across both years. The findings of this study may be useful for individuals who work with children and adolescents who have become too old or intellectually advanced for time-out procedures. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed in this paper.



modified grounding||token economy||adolescents||job card grounding