Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

Catherine Nicholson

Second Advisor

Jonathan K. Fernand

Third Advisor

Anthony LoGalbo

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


Cheerleading has a high rate of serious injuries, but the safety of cheerleaders has seldom been researched. Behavior analytic research has never investigated cheerleading and has rarely focused on improving the safety of athletes. The present study examined scored observations, a common intervention in the behavior-based safety literature, as a method to increase the safety of cheerleaders completing basic movements. This has previously been shown to produce the observer effect, wherein an observer’s safe behavior is increased after observing and scoring the behavior of another performer. Scored observations alone increased basic cheerleading movements to a mastery criteria for one of six applications, and behavioral skills training was added for an additional three applications. These results extend behavior analytic research to a new population, cheerleaders, and provide implications and suggestions when using behavior-based safety interventions to increase athlete safety.