Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Mark W. Steege Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jamie Pratt Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Garry Wickerd Ph.D.




Within this study, the author aimed to expand the research on high-probability/lowprobability (high-p/low-p) interventions to examine the effects of behavioral momentum on the academic behavior of expressive writing. Two second-grade students were selected based on a history of avoidance of with writing tasks, where motivation was determined to be the primary variable impacting expressive writing engagement. An alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of a traditional expressive writing prompt to the utilization of a high-p/low-p response sequence where instructions to engage in high-probability writing tasks preceded the prompt to complete lowprobability writing tasks. Two dependent variables were measured including response latency (the time between the task prompt and task initiation), and total words written. Results of the brief intervention analysis indicate that high-p/low-p interventions were successful in decreasing the response latency for both students when compared to traditional writing prompts. Additionally, both students wrote more total words on average in the high-p/low-p condition, although the results were more consistently differentiated for one student than for the other and were not as robust as response latency results for both students. The findings suggest that high-p/low-p interventions may be a simple and effective way to help students initiate writing more quickly when motivation for writing is low. Additionally, the intervention may be beneficial in increasing total word output for some students. Implications of these findings and suggestions for future research are discussed.