Token economies

What is a token economy?

A token economy is a behavioural therapy utilising non-monetary ‘tokens’ as a reward to reinforce target behaviours. These tokens have no intrinsic value but can be exchanged for various goods or privileges. Token economies were used widely for schizophrenia in the 1960’s and 1970’s, targeted specifically at negative symptoms such as poor motivation or attention, and social withdrawal. More recently token therapies have largely been replaced by social and life skills training, and cognitive skills training.

What is the evidence for token economies?

Moderate to low quality evidence finds no benefit of token economies for study retention. Low quality evidence is unable to determine the benefit of token therapy for negative symptoms.

September 2020

Last updated at: 4:35 am, 14th September 2020
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.