J Appl Behav Anal 1996 ;29(1):67-78
Rosewood School, Carolina Behavior Analysis and Support Center, Ltd., Morganton, North Carolina 28680, USA.
In this study we attempted to operationalize, measure, and increase happiness among people with profound disabilities. Happiness indices were defined and observed among 5 individuals. Validation measures indicated that (a) increases in happiness indices were observed when individuals were presented with most preferred stimuli relative to least preferred stimuli, (b) increases in unhappiness indices were observed when they were presented with least preferred relative to most preferred stimuli, and (c) practitioner ratings of participant happiness coincided with observed indices. Subsequently, classroom staff increased happiness indices through presentation and contingent withdrawal of activities. Results suggested that a behavioral approach can enhance happiness as one aspect of quality of life among people with profound disabilities. Research directions are offered that focus on using a behavioral approach to investigate other private events that are important among people with disabilities.