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What is contingency management?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

In medicine, contingency management is a treatment plan that gives immediate rewards for desired changes in behavior. It is based on the principle that if a good behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated. This is often used in the treatment of drug and alcohol abuse, and is being studied as a smoking cessation method.

This answer is based on source information from National Cancer Institute.

Howard J. Shaffer, PhD
Addiction Medicine
Contingency management is often used in combination with other techniques for the treatment of addiction. It involves the use of rewards—either monetary or symbolic, in the form of tokens, to reinforce or reward a person for completing abstinence milestones. In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), for example, people receive chips of various colors after they are sober for a month, six months, etc. This form of positive reinforcement  rewards continued abstinence.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.