Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Behavior Analysis

Committee Chair

Sadie Lovett

Second Committee Member

Mary Radeke

Third Committee Member

Stephanie Stein


Assertiveness skills are related to a variety of life factors including stress levels, social relationships, social fears, and anxiety. The previous research has shown that engaging in nonassertive behavior can have negative effects, and assertive behaviors can lead to a healthier life (Eldeeb, Enstar, & Eldosoky, 2014; Elliot & Gramling, 1990; Larijani, Aghajanie, Baheiraei, & Neiestanank, 2010; Morgan, 1974). The purpose of the current research was to determine if behavioral skills training (BST) was effective in teaching assertiveness skills to college students and if the skills would generalize to novel situations. BST is a method for teaching skills that uses instructions, modeling, rehearsal and feedback. In the current study, BST was used to identify and teach nine different assertive behaviors and help the participants differentiate between nonassertive, assertive, and aggressive behavior. The current study used a multiple baseline design to implement the BST intervention for three participants. Results showed that each participant met and exceeded an 80% mastery criterion for three trained role-play scenarios. Results also showed that assertiveness skills were generalized to three novel scenarios presented to each participant. Social validity was assessed and results showed that participants not only found the intervention helpful, but that they were more assertive in a variety of social situations following BST. It has been determined that BST is an effective method for teaching assertiveness skills to college students.