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Operant treatment 

Operant treatment
Operant treatment

Keith J. Slifer

, Adrianna Amari

, and Cynthia Maynard Ward

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date: 29 July 2021

Operant conditioning interventions for clinical pain involve the modification of environmental and social stimuli that are (1) antecedents (discriminative stimuli or setting events) to maladaptive pain behaviour or (2) consequent stimuli that maintain the maladaptive pain behaviour through positive reinforcement (social attention or assistance from others) or negative reinforcement (escape or avoidance of uncomfortable, effortful activity, or of social, academic, or work responsibilities). While aspects of operant conditioning theory have been included in the design of interventions to manage acute paediatric medical procedure-related pain (see Slifer et al., 1995 , 2002 , 2011 ), this chapter will not include these studies but will focus on operant conditioning based interventions for illness-and injury-related chronic or recurrent pain.

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