Graduation Date

Summer 2023

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Kinesiology, option Teaching/Coaching

Committee Chair Name

Dr. David Adams

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Rock Braithwaite

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Jill Anderson

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Autism spectrum disorder, Token economy reward system, Self-determination theory, Single case changing-criterion design, Exercise

Subject Categories

Physical Education


Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) tend to demonstrate low levels of physical activity and exercise when compared to their developing peers. Low physical activity levels are associated with multiple factors, including lack of understanding of how to perform exercise movements and low intrinsic motivation. Token economy reward systems have shown to be practical in behavior analysis for changing behaviors however, there is limited research on the effects of token economy reward systems in an exercise setting. The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of a token economy board combined with self-determination theory (SDT) on the exercise performance of two individuals with ASD. Methods: Two participants with ASD between the ages of 13 and 17 were enrolled in a 6-week weight-lifting exercise program. Participants’ muscular endurance was measured using the DXP Deluxe Chest Press Machine and the Leg Extension Machine, following the pre-established Holten Curve formula, and cardiovascular endurance was monitored using the IHT Spirit Classroom Reader heart monitors. A token-economy board was used to indicate the number of repetitions completed. A single case changing-criterion design was used to guide data collection by obtaining initial baseline observations on target behaviors and implementing stepwise changes in target behaviors during each treatment phase. Both participants successfully completed each established exercise goal during each criterion phase and showed a marked improvement in muscular endurance when compared to baseline. Results suggest a positive association between participants’ completion of established exercise goals and the implementation of SDT.

Citation Style




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