D-1: Distinguish between dependent and independent variables ©

Target Terms: Dependent Variable, Independent Variable 


Dependent Variable 

Definition: The target behavior which the intervention is designed to change. It depends on the environment to change it.

Example in clinical context: A client’s eloping behavior which is targeted for intervention. 

Example in supervision/consultation context: Employee weekly productivity reports. 

Why it matters: The dependent variable must be identified if the goal is to produce change in behavior. 

Independent Variable

Definition: The intervention designed to have an effect on the dependent variable. The independent variable intervenes on the phenomenon of interest.

Example in clinical context: Response blocking as a means to prevent elopement. 

Example in supervision/consultation context: Positive reinforcement earned when employees make their weekly productivity goal. 


Why it matters: In order to accurately understand behavior change, all change targets and treatment conditions must be identified. Though we may not be actively involved in publishing research, our work with clients must be driven by an empirical process.

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