This article reports two related studies designed to examine the effects of three intervention strategies (instructions and praise, modeling, and a point system) on children’s sportsmanship in physical education class and in a recreation setting. Four target boys (mean age 12.3 years) were monitored during 22 physical education class Softball games and during 21 recreational basketball games. In softball, an ABCDA reversal design indicated that while the effects on individual children varied, all three interventions increased sportsmanship and decreased unsportsmanlike behaviors. The improved sportsmanship behavior of the softball class did not transfer to basketball, however, and further interventions were implemented in that setting. Here, an ABAC reversal design revealed that instructions and praise intervention were effective in reducing unsportsmanlike behavior but it had little effect on increasing sportsmanship. In both settings, the point system with contingent back-up reinforcers was the most effective intervention.
Request reprints from Thomas L. McKenzie, Dept. of Physical Education, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182.