Brief Report: Validation of a Reinforcer Survey for Use with Geriatric Patients

Document Type


Publication Date



This paper describes a Geriatric Reinforcer Survey (GRS) which expands upon a previous Reinforcement Survey Schedule (RSS) developed by Cautela and Kastenbaum (1967). The GRS, an instrument designed to quickly assess reinforcer preference in geriatric populations, has two formats, one for individuals over 65 years of age who are still able to comprehend and write, and one designed to be filled out by relatives and staff familiar with an individual over 65 years of age who can no longer comprehend or write well. Reinforcer preference was determined by giving the GRS to a total of 107 geriatric persons in both home and institutional settings. Test-retest reliability was assessed on a subsample of 71 individuals over a 10–14-day period and was found to be r3 = 0.608, p < 0.01 using the Spearman Rank-Order Correlation Coefficient. This indicated that the GRS had reasonable test-retest reliability. The validity of having a relative or familiar staff person fill out the GRS for a specific individual was also tested. Results of 43 administrations of the GRS to relatives of a geriatric person, using the Spearman Rank-Order Correlation Coefficient, showed a correlation of r3 = 0.488. p < 0.01 when the responses of that person were compared to those of the individual. Results of 17 administrations of the GRS to staff familiar with a particular patient were r3 = 0.436, p < 0.05 when compared to responses made by the individual. This indicates that the GRS might, be useful in structuring interventions for individuals who are incapacitated, and groups of geriatric persons. The GRS also has the potential to be a valuable research tool.



Publication Title

Behavioral Residential Treatment