In this brief blog article, we will define a contingency contract and provide examples. 

A contingency contract is a written agreement between two people that specifies a behavior that one person agrees to engage in and a reward that another person agrees to give as a result. 

When Should You Use a Contingency Contact?

You should use a contingency contract when you have rapport with the learner and you are increasing a skill that they already know how to perform. The goal for them is to self monitor and engage in a known behavior not to teach a new skill. 

What Type of Intervention is Contingency Contract?

A contingency contract is not as simple as a social positive reinforcement procedure and therefore is considered a complex intervention package that uses several ABA principles including by not limited to prompting, rule governed behavior and positive reinforcement. 

How can you Use a Contingency Contract?

You can use a contingency contact at home or in school. You can also use a contingency contact with individuals or with groups provided that all members of the group agree and understand that contract. A person can also make a self contract. In this case, they are responsible for all three parts of the contingency contract. 

Parts of a Contingency Contract

A contingency contract has three major parts: the task, the reward and the task record.


In a contingency contract, the task defines exactly what behavior a person must engage in to access the reward. It should include what needs to be done, who must do it, when it must be done and details with how it must be done. It should be very clear and specific for all parties. 


The reward  portion of a contingency contract specifies what reward the person engaging in the behavior will receive. It should also be very specific and include what the reward is, who will be delivering it and when it will be delivered. 

Task Completion

The actual contract must include a part where the person completing the task can record when they complete it especially if the delivery of reinforcement will not be immediate and there are multiple steps to the task. 

This article is useful for registered behavior technicians (RBT) or students who are studying to become board certified behavior analysts (BCBAs). Understanding (Applied Behavior Analysis) ABA terms is critical for both being an effective ABA therapist and passing your BCBA exam.

In an effort to help you study for your BCBA exam more effectively, this post is written in a “study note” form rather than as a long form blog post. 

They are my personal study notes I am sharing with you as a gift. I am spending my time studying so they are not edited. I am grateful for your understanding in overlooking the grammar! Happy Studying! 


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd Edition). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson Education.

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