The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Applied Behavior Analysis: M.S.


Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy


School of Health and Human Services

First Advisor

Benjamin N. Witts

Second Advisor

Kimberly A. Schulze

Third Advisor

Julie Ackerlund Brandt

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Bruxism is defined as the grinding of one’s upper and lower teeth such that physical damage is caused. To date, behavioral interventions that examine environmental relations with respect to diurnal bruxism have outperformed medical and psychological treatments. However, the behavioral interventions have relied on punitive measures to eliminate the behavior. This study evaluated a function-based antecedent intervention for bruxism with a 4-year-old girl. The function was determined to be maintained by automatic reinforcement following a four condition (i.e., attention, escape, play, and ignore) functional analysis. A further assessment of the sensory stimulations associated with bruxism (i.e., external pressure on the jaw, internal pressure on the teeth, and auditory stimulation) determined it was more specifically maintained by the vibration sensation produced when the teeth grinded together. The study used the function and evaluated non-contingent delivery of matched stimulation (i.e., treatment that matches the function of the participant’s bruxism) as a treatment of bruxism. While it was an effective method to reduce bruxism, the speed of the reduction was not rapid enough and the stimulation was unable to be thinned, concluding that it was not an effective form of treatment.


I first want to express my utmost gratitude to my thesis advisor, Dr. Benjamin Witts, my committee chairs, Dr. Kimberly Schulze and Dr. Julie Ackerlund-Brandt. It was their never fleeting support, expertise, and thorough review that allowed me to produce a piece of work that I can truly take pride in.

I secondly want to thank Holland Center for opening their doors to me to conduct my study under their roof. The entire center was accommodating, encouraging, and invested. I want to especially thank my supervisor, Marietta Janecky. Marietta made a concerted effort to ensure that I understood what I was doing, why I was doing it, and that I was able to explain it to even the most lay person. She aimed to make me think and speak behaviorally and motivated me to keep moving when I didn’t think I could.

While a lot of my project developed at school and at Holland Center, a vast majority was completed in coffee shops, my parent’s dining room table, or in my bedroom of my parent’s house. Had my mom not offered to help me with everything; or my dad not edited sections hundreds of times; or my cohort ignored my stressed out phone calls, it would not have been able to be completed.

I am confident that without the support of all; my professors, colleagues, parents, supervisors, co-workers, friends, I would still be working on my topic. Therefore, I’d like to give a round of applause to all who cried with me, cheered for me, and told me to not stop typing. This paper is for you, and me, and well and for the completion of my master’s degree!



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