Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. R. Wayne Fuqua

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Damashek

Third Advisor

Dr. Linda A. LeBlanc

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Raymond G. Miltenberger


Nearly all children receive abduction prevention training. Most traditional education programs increase the learner's knowledge, but often fail to produce concomitant behavior change. Behavioral Skills Training (BST) is a multicomponent, behavior-based training strategy with empirical support demonstrating its effectiveness in teaching children safety skills, behavioral generalization and maintenance over time. BST, however, is restricted by financial, human and time costs and limited resources to implement the training protocol. These factors likely limit widespread adoption of the training model. This study examined the use of computer-based instruction that emphasized active responding and mastery level performance requirements to teach school-aged children abduction prevention skills. Computer-Based Instruction (CBI) was compared against traditional BST (instructions, modeling, rehearsal, feedback and in situ training) on measures of training effectiveness and efficiency. Forty children (M age =10 years, 2 months) were randomly assigned to the CBI experimental group or BST control group. Evaluation was conducted via in situ assessments in laboratory and naturalistic settings at baseline, post-training, two weeks and one month following training. Results revealed clinically and statistically significant improvements in child performance of target safety behaviors after training for both groups. Behavioral generalization to naturalistic settings and skill maintenance was demonstrated at follow-up assessments. Differences in child performance were not observed between training delivery models. Training time and number of training trials to program/skill mastery was less for BST compared to CBI. Costs and resource needs were greater during the program development phase for CBI. Program implementation expenses associated with CBI were minimal and cost per unit of delivery decreased exponentially with successive implementation of the intervention. Per unit of delivery costs for BST were fixed and total investment associated with this model increased across successive implementations. Taken as a whole, CBI was as effective as BST in teaching children abduction prevention skills. Across multiple learners, the computer-based instruction program becomes a more economical delivery model. Findings are also discussed relating to child emotional response during training and assessment sessions and correspondence between the learner's verbal report of behavior during simulated abduction situations and behavioral performance during live assessments.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access